Dropping a dime on the NFL

September 27th, 2008 by John Morris

If you pay close attention – and I do, you will see the Dallas Cowboys always get national TV coverage.

Here’s the playbook on national games: three every Sunday; one every Monday and occasionally on Thursdays. Only 25% of all teams will be seen by football watching America during an average NFL week.

Thanksgiving is a day NFL football fans plan to overeat and watch NFL football. Guess which two teams have a lock on playing every year? Answer: the Detroit Lions and ta da, the Dallas Cowboys.

Tomorrow, Dallas plays Washington on the national televised 4:00 p.m. game. This makes them 4-0 for 2008 having their games broadcasted across America. The best way for most NFL teams to get national TV coverage is to play Dallas.

I set out to see how NFL games are selected. My research uncovered this bit of information: the NFL selects who plays these primo games based on teams’ performances in the prior year. Okay, then why did they continue to favor the “Boys” after their down seasons? Oops, no answer.

Let’s put it on the table. The NFL considers the Cowboys to the money team. This team has led in the sales of sports paraphernalia for decades. The NFL believes this team may have more fans in more markets than any other one. If they’re right, they help create these conditions.


It might be because Dallas’ games are broadcasted to every American home and sports bar every week.

Maybe this copy/paste of their website might drive my point home.

NFL.com – Official Site of the National Football League

Official site of the National Football League. It delivers in-depth team pages for all clubs, game-day coverage with real time statistics and play-by-play
www.nfl.com/ – 66k – CachedSimilar pagesNote this
Okay, I’m done whining.
Update: November 9
The Cowboys did not score nationwide cover for two straight weeks: September 28 and October 2. I’ll enjoy this while I can and expect they’ll run the table for the remaining season.

Maybe the NFL read my blog?


Lessons of a lifetime

September 26th, 2008 by John Morris

The current financial crisis has me scratching my head as the details unravel. I’m not an economist, and I get easily lost trying to follow them. I searched my life’s experiences to help me understand.

When I had my sign business, I sold mostly to other businesses. Businesses always need signs, and they need them when they need them. After that, the poor sign guy drops off the radar screen.

If my payment was overdue, I’d call the customer for payment. Far too often, I’d get one of these two excuses: 1. “I haven’t been paid yet.” or 2. “I don’t have the money now.”

The deal was a simple one. I’d provide the goods; they would pay me the asking price. We didn’t enter into a partnership where my payment was linked to the success of their business. The customer didn’t ask me if I had the money to do their work. I’d put this money at risk with the expectation of a profit. I was often asked to accept less due to their money problems but never offered a dividend if my customer’s business was going great guns.

Now back to the current problem.

In America, we have a simplistic free market system. You either prosper or fail based on your business plan and your work ethic.

Now we’re being told our nation must provide funds to bail out high flying Wall Streeters’ failing businesses. These moneychangers wanted, and got, their front end profits. Now we are being squeezed to cover the residue of their bad bets.

We were willing to allow them their profits. That’s the system, and it works. It’s not wired to remove risk or to expect others to bear your burden if you fail.

Call it serendipity, kismet or karma

September 24th, 2008 by John Morris

Two recent events have me convinced further how our lives are interconnected.

During my walk yesterday, I came across a woman’s purse on the sidewalk with the usual contents: phone, wallet, makeup. I knocked on the closest home’s door. The lady inside said it was her purse and had forgotten about it.

On my walk today, I approached a guy working under the passenger side of his car. He got up in a hurry; stored his tools and was ready to drive off when I noticed a cell phone under his car. I tapped the window and told him about it. It was his.

While there’s nothing unusual about these events, they do help reinforce my belief that our lives are interconnected. I also believe doing good turns often come back later in matching acts from others.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Move a rock and the rest of the universe is attached to it.”

I seem to find more reasons to believe this is true.

Not yet ready to retire.

September 21st, 2008 by John Morris

Today marks one month since I lost my job to the current economic swan dive. “Lost my job” is applicable because that was how it seem to go. Like a set of keys you just had that “are around here somewhere” but refuse to be found.

I’m taking a work haitus for a fistful of reasons. It’s better to wait until next year when there’ll be more openings; I can take this time to renovate my home for retirement; and I’m getting government incentives not to work.

I am at an age where early retirement is common: 63 in November. In short, I’m not ready to retire. I want a job where I can contribute to the economic recovery and then retire when it’s strong again.

During the past 20 years, I watched the work force change. Companies downsized their labor force and relegated the work to those remaining. Fewer people were doing more work for marginally more money. This plan is still in force today but will not be enough to rescue the economy from the current Barbarians at the gates.

We didn’t learn when the dot com bubble burst. We let the current housing debacle also happen. What were the early signals? How about making money for providing nothing of real value! This was a element at the nuclei of both collapses. How about government watchdogs staying on the porch? Why do we pay them if they hang with the jackals?

I have three years, two months and 8 days to magic number 66 and Full Retirement Age Social Security benefits. I figure working for this time will allow me to salt away more funds and retire with 100%.

I will not return to work for the man I am today but for the 85 year old man I will be. I want to take care of him.

Today’s word is paradigm.

September 20th, 2008 by John Morris

par·a·digm (par-uh-dahym)

1. One that serves as a pattern or model.

2. A set or list of all the inflectional forms of a word or of one of its

grammatical categories: the paradigm of an irregular verb.

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes

a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in

an intellectual discipline.

I'm going with door #3.

I'm at a confusing crossroad. For years, GWB and the Republicans have been

selling the fiscally conservative kool-aid. The one that reads let the

market run free with only necessary government interference. Now our

leaders used our money to rescue AIG and plans to spend $700B more

government - still ours - money to cover those bad home loans.

My conflict lies with thinking Bush made a paradigm shift because:

a. he's lost it enough to create a financial debacle or

b: he swallowed poison pills to avoid cascading and larger future problems.

I usually oppose using tax monies to bail out private sector businesses.

That these company are too big to allow to fail shows our elected

officials abdicated their controls. They are now standing around wondering

what happened.

Keep this in mind, as soon as those Wall Streeters were finished gathering

in bushelsful of money, they then looked for ways to minimize their tax

bite. We aren't bailing them out with the monies they paid into the system

but with the monies the rest of us have.

In the movie, "The Truce", John Turturro played an Italian Jew leaving

Aushwich for Italy. His train stopped where former Nazis were doing road

work. He stood close enough for them to see his former prison uniform. One

of the Nazis knelt down and bowed his head in shame.

Do you think any of those bottom-feeding, greedy Wall Streeters would ever

think to do such an act of repentance for us? After all the dust settles and the final 

tally is in, they damn well should.


Knowing their type, they'll experience such a paradigm shift if it's the 

only way they can keep the money.

But I don’t want to own AIG!

September 18th, 2008 by John Morris

What in the world was our government thinking? They take a freight car of our money and bail out a company suffering from a hangover caused by their own greed and industry-wide hubris.

It didn’t seem to matter that mortgage giants were making loans for people woefully unable to pay them back. All that did matter was they could somehow show a profit. AIG provided a key support element to make this mess stay afloat.

People with enough self-respect to admit they’re con artists call this “churn and burn”. Make the deal; pocket the money, and let someone else handle the fallout.

Well, that someone is now us. Unless there’s a good job in it for me, I don’t want to own AIG.

Good luck reading this:


Okay, fun’s over

September 18th, 2008 by John Morris

During the primary, I changed my registration from a R to a D. I did so to vote against Hilliary Clinton. That’s no way to vote, but I didn’t want to miss my chance.

I’ve been a R since I first registered but for no real reason. It’s time now for me to switch back. Why? Well, the current batch of Democratic zealots seem to think I’m really one of them. They call; they visit; and they send mail. The theme is always the same: vote for nobody but Obama. No reasons given even when I ask for them.

It’s time for me to be what I am. A man who’s suspects politicians who have panacea answers without details. A man who’ll distance himself from such people.

My newest mantra

September 15th, 2008 by John Morris

“Develop a flawless technique and place yourself at the mercy of inspiration.”

I’d like the credit for this gem, but I’m quoting a print artist quoting a Asian mentor. This is as good as it gets as a reference.

Embrace the thought.

The view from aboard an elephant

September 5th, 2008 by John Morris

My wife, Lyn kept it simple. She wanted to travel to Vietnam to see our son and his wife.

And she wanted to ride an elephant. This is were Cambodia came in.

We worried about what she would eat while there. She actually loved the French breads; that heavy black coffee called cafe da and the national dish – noodle soup called pho. What a trooper!

We caravaned from Saigon, Vietnam to Cambodia and Angkor Wat: the world’s largest temple and shrine. Here we could travel around the 77 acres landmark as they did 1,000 years ago- on an elephant. These are the smaller, Asian elephant, but they are still impressive in size. Our tour guide for the day, Mr. Phran led us to the corral of elephants taxis and their handlers. The price was today’s real bargain: $10.00 for 30 minutes.

Have you wondered how to get on the top side of an elephant? Carpenters build winding stairs around a tree leading to a platform. The elephant driver positions the beast next to this platform, and we just slid over to a simple, padded wooden plank.

The driver stayed excited until the weight on both sides becomes balanced. He then calmed down; faced forward; and showed his nifty, sewn-in-place, shirt pocket cleared marked, “TIPS”. Our guy was sharp and had salted the till with $5.00US.

He spoke no understandable English which matched our non-existent Cambodian. We were told by the reliable Mr. Phran that the ride included stops of interests which are ideal for photos. The temples are active and monks are there praying. Photos are okay, but he asked us not to show great respect.

My wife, the elephant, the driver and I were now ready, and the beast lumbered forward. Passengers just sway right and left in a downward movement.

I watched the elephant’s feet. The pace she set belied how slowly she moved her feet. I’m glad I didn’t know at this point that the board was fastened around the elephant with a single hemp rope. I don’t know how most riders don’t tumble to the ground.

The ride was magical. The ride took us around a cluster of outer temples, but the gave us a view of the huge central temple. We were teased and excited by its grandeur.

The driver stopped when asked and showed us sites we would miss. The active temples had colorful altars and praying monks, as advertised. When we stopped, it seemed everything else in the world did too: no sound, no wind. The whirling sound of my camera broke the calm, and we moved on. However, my camera never worked again.

We cycled back to the staging area where I tipped the cabbie the standard 15% ($1.50). As we climbed down the tree structure, men were hawking bunches of small bananas. Mr. Phran said they were not for me to eat but to be fed to the elephants. I took bananas over to the elephant we rode and offered them. The beast curled her trunk inwardly and opened up her snoot. I placed bananas in the opening and watched as they disappeared into her large mouth. After a shake of her head, she looked at me in a way that said she was tired of me.

I’m glad Lyn wanted to ride an elephant around 1,000 year old temples. It was a worth goal and a definite notch on the life experience list.

The best perk

September 3rd, 2008 by John Morris

Looking for work is a journey of highs and lows. The highs following good interviews ease the pain of the grinding search process. Nothing knocks you down as much as hearing you didn’t get that plum job you so much wanted. The best way to handle these flucuations is to just keep going. The right job will present itself, and you’ll get it.

One day, I had two inteviews where my friends paved the way for me. They provided glowing recommendations for me. Both interviews went well, and I hope to be able to accept one of them.

Mixed with these little ego-boasting interviews came one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

One of my former, blue collar co-workers called me. He wanted me to know how much he enjoyed working with me. and he valued our times together. It was simply two guys valuing each other.

Like many people, I’ve worked for a paycheck and hoped to make positive differences where I work. In one case, I think I did, and it was heartwarming to hear about it. It’s the best perk. The one not involving money.

This hardworking guy didn’t need to take time out to make such a call. I didn’t expect it. He did because he’s that kind of guy. The kind that reaches out and lets people know they are appreciated. Most people think about doing this but don’t.

His example is a good one for us all.


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.