Wednesday, June 21, 2017

THIS & THAT #26


I May Drink to That
That 16-page section on June 18, described in THIS & THAT #25, also ran advertisements from two prominent exchanges, which have already devoted their artistic talent making memory-inducing, commemorative items including those on both Obama and Trump. The Bradford Exchange offered a Warriors limited edition,  “sculpted porcelain beer stein you’d be proud to own, for “four convenient installments of $32.49 each, or $129.99. Then, in small, almost unreadable type far below “Plus a total of $17.99 shipping and service.” This edition is limited to only 5,000 steins, and “The earliest orders receive coveted lowest edition numbers.”
Think I have waited too long to acquire a lower numbered stein, and that’s the severe price I have to pay for prolonged procrastinating.


Give the Winners a Trophy 
A few pages later, Bradford advertised a copy of the “2017 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY.” They say, “It’s a slam dunk” at just $99.99, but best order now since this “officially licensed collectible tribute is limited to 10,000 worldwide, so don’t wait to order.”
But don’t forget the $14.99 for shipping and service. Are there truly 10,000 people worldwide clamoring for this rare item?

A...They're Adorable
On page 15, is the darling of the collectibles, with a “Warriors Win!” headline, it should get many Warrior fans emotionally involved when they see two adorable five-year-olds less than 6-inches high, in fine bisque porcelain and labeled “Special Event Keepsake, cheers on the reigning NBA Champions!” This memento has “Together We’re A Winning Team!” on its base. This ties into the syrupy body copy in the advertisement, “From opening tip off to the final buzzer, you and your sweetie teamed up to cheer on your Golden State Warriors.”
This Hamilton Exchange piece of art is offered for “just four installments of $24.99,” plus $13 for shipping and service.

 Staying on Track
There are two more precious items offered including a 2017 NBA Finals Champions Express, including a model diesel locomotive, 14-piece track set, power pack, and speed controller, with “Strength In Numbers” printed on its side.  It’s available for only $79.99 from Bradford, plus $9.99 shipping and service.




UP IN THE AIR
There should be no doubt in your mind that the most-wanted remembrance will be the Warriors 2017 NBA Championship Levitating Basketball, a steal at $179.99, plus $21.99 shipping and handling. The Bradford Exchange offers the buyer a wonderful opportunity to “help keep the thrill going all year around,” and you can “show your loyalty and pride with this commemorative sculpture featuring a basketball that hovers and spins in mid-air.” They remind the potential buyer that “Time is of the essence,” since only 10,000 will be available.


As for me, since I never had a Lionel Train Set in my youth, I am seriously thinking of acquiring the Champions Express. First off, it’s the least expensive of all mementos for sale, and secondly I would be in charge of running it, if my wife allows me to do so.

She just reminded me that I already am the proud owner of free, bright yellow, XL size tee shirt with the words ALL GOLD EVERYTHING FINALS 2017 emblazoned in faded grey type on the front. You can find that story on THIS & THAT #24.

So why should I be greedy? Although owning a genuine Warriors choo-choo train would certainly impress my neighbor, however then I’d have to invite him in my home for the first time ever to view it in action, with me at the controls. Best to leave well enough alone for now, and just wear the XL tee shirt with pride as nightwear, or let it help fill my dresser drawer until next year’s season begins, which is less than six months away.

Time flies when you are a winner, not a whiner.


THIS & THAT #25


GOLD DIGGERS

It’s quite apropos that the National Basketball Association 2017 Championship was won by the GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS. The NBA, the media, retailers, and a plethora of other entities are extremely engaged with making money through their connection with professional sports.

After the Warriors victory, many quickly and deftly found a tie in to the team, and to their desire to gather the gold for themselves while they may.

Speaking of gold, the owners of the Golden State Warriors have found that investing in this particular NBA team has been a gold-send for them. They purchased the team in 2010 for $450 million, and today the Warriors are worth $2.6 billion.

Loyalty to Whom?
Although the Warriors regularly sell out the 19,596 seats at all of their home games in the Oracle Arena in Oakland, the owners are taking their organization across The Bay to the now-being-built Chase Arena in San Francisco. Apparently, there’s more gold in them thar hills to mine for, and after they have left their loyal, and already despondent East Bay fans, there’s a good-as-gold chance that the Golden State Warriors will once again become the San Francisco Warriors. That was their name when they arrived in San Francisco in 1962, shedding their Philadelphia Warriors moniker.

Everything’s For Sale   
One local newspaper spent the entire NBA season digging deeply for even the most inane story to keep its readers “informed” of most everything concerning the Warriors. The San Jose Mercury News, a “homer” newspaper, had four or five writers covering every aspect of the team, and most always in a positive manner.

They’ve written about Kevin Durant’s mother, Stephen Curry’s wife, the coach’s physical problems, and why they should easily win the championship once they signed Kevin Durant — which they did.

The Warriors television broadcast team, does an even better job promoting the team, even regularly quoting how many are on the season ticket waiting list, and artfully describing what awaits the true Warrior fan. Remember that “fan” is short for “fanatic.”

You Can Count on the Media Coverage,
But Does the Coverage Really Count?
When the Warriors won the fourth and final game of the championship series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the local media were truly excited and effusive, as they offered stories to fit most every reader’s appetite. “Durant soaks up every minute,” “Best of the best,” “Will the Warriors give Trump a cold shoulder,” “Curry, Durant want to keep the team together,” “DYNASTY DÉJÀ VU,” and “Should the Warriors make nice with Trump?”

One such headline prompted a letters-to-the-editor campaign. It read “Curry still has no interest in visiting Trump White House,” and readers took both sides of the subject. What was the team’s obligation to represent the people of the Bay Area? One, sensible and esteemed columnist intelligently wrote that the White House visit mainly matters to politicians and others of a similar ilk, that just seek coverage of themselves in the media, and the opportunity to fill their selfies albums — if that’s where people store their selfies.

The newspaper’s editorial board inserted their own opinion to show that with all of the Trump-induced turmoil in our land, that they could see the positivity the team brought to the Bay Area, with a headline that read, “Warriors show how to be a winner.”

After the Team Won, the Media Won
As Did a Plethora of Advertisers
While the newspaper was filled with stories and photographs, it was also inundated with advertising from the media, local advertisers, and the trophy sellers.

The Mercury-News unabashedly ran a series of heart-tugging advertisements including a half-page, four-color one, entitled “DUB NATION, a high-quality, full color reprint of the winning front page. PURCHASE TODAY.” A sub-headline screamed, “Immortalize the winning moment!” offering the buyer a rare opportunity to preserve history, and enable the paper to gather in some additional gold.

Fans could get even more according to another half-page, four-color advertisement. For only $24.95  “Get your limited hardcover edition celebrating the 2017 championship season.” It contained (or eventually will contain) 128 full-color glossy pages. In smaller print it reminds the faithful they will also have to also pay tax and shipping.

Not to be outdone by the print media, NBC Sports Bay Area Television, ran a full-page advertisement telling loyal supporters to watch the victory parade on their station, “The Home of the Authentic Warriors Fan.” No phony phans need watch!

On June 18, the Mercury News ran a 16-page section lauding the team’s accomplishments, and not to be left out, KOHL’S ran a half-page, full-color advertisement, with an overwhelming headline, “DUBS WIN! Get Your Championship Gear at Kohl’s and Kohls.com.” AT&T, which charges too much for its inefficient services ran a full-page advertisement with the headline, “A dynasty is born.” The entire page sixteen lauded the team with, “CONGRATS WARRIORS. NBA CHAMPS AGAIN! YOU MAKE THE BAY AREA PROUD!” It was graciously signed, “From the Champions of pest control, Pacific Coast Termite.”

If you are interested in real mementos, other than tee shirts, take a look at the following THIS & THAT #26, and you will be dazzled by what is being offered.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

THIS & THAT #24

THE CHOICES YOU MAKE

A Two for One Offer

More than a month ago, we purchased tickets for the Django All-Stars gypsy jazz June 12th performance at 7 PM, at the local Kuumbwa Jazz Center. What we didn’t know back then, was that it would be on the same night that the Golden State Warriors would be trying to clinch the National Basketball Association title against the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a game that would be televised beginning at 6:15 PM.

Since my enthusiasm for the Warriors had been waning primarily because of the infantile antics of their forward Draymond Green, I accepted the fact that I couldn’t attend both events.

Or could I?

We arrived at Kuumbwa around 6:20 PM, put our coats over two chairs, and then walked out the front door, turned left, and headed into the Poet and Patriot Pub some forty feet away. Bob, the pub’s heavy-set, 6’5” security man greeted us, and after we entered, we sat at a table near the door where a big-screen television set was tuned into the Warriors’ game. At 6:55 PM, with Cleveland leading by three points, we headed back to Kuumbwa for some jazz.

The jazz was not that enticing, and around 8 PM we quietly walked out between renditions. I suggested that since we were in downtown already let’s take a five-minute drive to the Kaiser Arena where the Santa Cruz Warriors play. I am on their mailing list and had received a notice that the arena would be open to Warrior fans. For $10 you could watch the game on a huge screen, and also receive a Warrior tee shirt. The moneys collected would be donated to the local Boys and Girls Clubs.

The game was already in the third quarter, so I convinced the two men guarding the door, that we should be allowed to enter at no cost, and they agreed. There were two hundred folding seats set up on the basketball floor, and about one-hundred-fifty fans were loudly enjoying the game. To the right was a table with Warriors merchandise, and I managed to talk the young lady in charge to give us a free tee shirt. Unfortunately the only ones available were bright yellow, XL size with the words ALL GOLD EVERYTHING FINALS 2017 emblazoned in faded grey type on the front. I had no idea what those words meant.

We sat in the second to the last row, and occasionally joined the raucous locals as they yelled and screamed whenever the Warriors scored, or the referees made a terrible call, or the 19,596 fans at the actual game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland jumped up from their seats.

One fan at the game might have remained seated for the entire game, regardless of the intensity of the action. He, or she, paid a record $133,000 including fees for two floor seats, that a loyal Warriors season-ticket holder had sold to them. You have to wonder if the price included two bright yellow tee shirts.

Another Two-for-One Dilemma

On April 1, 1985, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball championship was played between Georgetown and Villanova, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Georgetown with a 30-3 won loss record, was heavily favored over Villanova, 25-10.

I was living in dreary, culturally void Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, teaching at Central Michigan University. The Jewish faculty had invited the controversial, Austrian born psychoanalyst Bruno Bettleheim to campus. The evening of the NCAA championships, there was a reception for him at a faculty member’s home, and now I seemingly had to choose between Bruno and basketball.

The 81-year-old Bettelheim had written several books, and I had just finished reading his “Children of the Dream,” on raising children on a kibbutz, and wanted to discuss parts of the book with him. But I couldn’t talk with him and watch basketball at the same time.

Or could I?

While a cadre of admiring professors gathered around him in the living room, I found a television set in the den and turned it on to the exciting game. I drifted from Bruno to basketball, slipping in and out of both rooms, and although I couldn’t engage in a meaningful conversation with the self-esteemed man, I did enjoy the basketball game that ended with Villanova upsetting Georgetown 66 to 64 before 23,124 avid fans.

It seems that when there is a clash between culture and basketball, if there is any chance to do so, I will choose to follow the bouncing ball.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

THIS & THAT #23

WHAT’S WHITE AND WHITE?
WITH NO COLOR IN SIGHT?
If you watched the self-congratulatory ceremony in the White House Rose Garden today after the GOP narrowly passed their version of a health care reform bill, you may have noticed that many of those applauding themselves were white-skinned, white-haired males, and few were wearing visible female attire.

That’s not to say that some of the male majority attending weren’t wearing fishnet stockings or garter belts beneath their manly attire. All politicians know that it’s best to project a front that their constituents will feel good about. All the GOP representatives who were there, clapping, singing and taking selfies, had best enjoy the moment.

A SEVEN-YEAR ITCH
It took the GOP only seven years to pass their flawed health care bill, and when the voters in their districts read the fine print and discover that Trump-care or Ryan-care, is nothing to brag about, they might think a bit longer and stronger as to whom to vote for in 2018. That’s when 435 congressional seats are up for election, and Republicans currently occupy 246 of those seats.

MAKE AMERICA GRATEFUL, AGAIN
The GOP should be grateful that they would once again be dealing with an equally inept Democratic National Committee at election time, just as they had to do during the last self-imposed failure in 2016. Look at THIS & THAT #22 for more insight on that subject.

It should be noted that only seven of the 216 GOP representatives who voted for the new health plan, had enough guts to hold town hall meetings in the immediate future. The rest will wisely rest.


WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ELECTED OFFICIALS RUNNING YOUR COUNTRY?
Fifty-one percent of the U.S. population is female, and 19.4% of the 114th House of Representatives are women, which include 21 Republicans and 62 Democrats. The Senate’s 100 seats have 21 women, with 16 being Democrats and five are Republicans.

The Junior Senator from Illinois, Democrat Tammy Duckworth is an Iraqi War Veteran, who served as an Army helicopter pilot, and lost both of her legs and damaged her right arm in combat. She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2014.

State of the Senate Quiz:
What three states are each represented by two women in the U.S. Senate? In one state, the Senators last names are Hassan and Shaheen. In another state, the Senators first names are Maria and Patty, and they are not members of either the Andrew Sisters or the Osmond family. The third state is California, where Zora dislikes the elder Senator who has been in office since 1992.