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    Published on: June 19, 2012

    by Michael Sansolo

    Even casual readers of MNB know this one truth: the Content Guy and I may disagree on some things, but we share the common burden of rooting for the baseball team in our hometown that has not won 27 World Championships.

    And yet, we are both proud of our affection for the New York Mets.

    Sadly, the Mets rarely provide useful and positive business lessons because they manage to do so many things wrong. They spend on players who, thanks to bad luck or bad execution, seem to decline once they join the team. They trade away players who flourish wherever they go. The team’s owners get embroiled in the Bernie Madoff fiasco and even the new stadium’s corporate name, Citi Field, became linked to the nation’s financial mess.

    But this year there’s a story that’s all good news and just drips with business lessons. It all comes in the person of R.A. Dickey.

    Dickey currently owns one of the best pitching records in baseball, having won 11 of his first 12 decisions. He’s the rare professional athlete who is a student of literature, both as a reader and writer. His personal story - he was sexually abused as a child - is compelling.

    The business lesson is about finding a way to succeed when everything seems to work against you. It’s about the importance of honest feedback, both giving it and getting it. (Let’s be honest here, that’s something that many managers dread because, frankly, it’s rarely well received.) And it’s about taking that honest feedback and using it productively to learn and grow.

    Early in his career, Dickey was a pitcher with modest skills and the meritocracy that is sports was working against him. The Texas Rangers, his team at the time, made it clear that he needed a new path and suggested he become a knuckleball pitcher.

    For those of you who don’t follow baseball, some explanation is required. Most pitchers grip the ball with two fingers and the thumb and throw it ridiculously hard. Knuckleballers hold the ball with two fingernails and thumb, releasing it in a way that impedes both speed and rotation. The ball floats, darts and dances, making it hard to hit, catch or control. It is so hard to master, in fact, that Dickey is the only pitcher in the major leagues currently throwing the pitch.

    But Dickey made the change, hard as it was. As he told the Washington Post during a recent visit to DC, “It’s important to be honest about what you’re not good at. When the Rangers came to me and said, ‘We don’t think you can do it any more as a conventional pitcher,’ there were 29 other teams out there that I could have taken my chances with. But I identified in myself that I wasn’t good enough. I was very mediocre.”

    Dickey’s attitude propelled him to the success he has today. At first, his change to the knuckleball was hard and he was quickly cut by a series of teams. But he continued to study the new pitch, eagerly contacting and learning from the few other pitchers who ever had success with the knuckleball. Even now, in the middle of his most successful season, he continues to work on the pitch, calling it a living thing that he continues to master.

    And just like that he reminds of so many important lessons. Honest feedback; the willingness to listen, change and grow; and the dedication to work through new solutions when the old isn’t working—are all lessons every one of us in business can relate to multiple times over with our companies, teams, families and ourselves.

    Best of all, they come from a Met. Here’s hoping his success continues for both the success of this unusual athlete, the inspiration it brings and the fate of my favorite team.

    Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available by clicking here .
    KC's View:
    Nice to consider a positive story about a Major league Baseball pitcher. As opposed to the story that dominates the headlines today about a retired pitcher who, for legal purposes, has been exonerated of charges that he used performance enhancing drugs, though the court of public opinion may reach a different conclusion.

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    by Kevin Coupe

    Media Post reports on new research by a research firm called Buyology that shows that there is gap in the entertainment and brand preferences of Democrats and Republicans.

    Democrats, it seems, like HBO, "The Daily Show," Animal Planet, "Modern Family,” “30 Rock,” "Parks and Recreation,” “Glee” and “Parenthood.” (At a guess, this may have something to do with HBO's connection to Bill Maher, Jon Stewart's political leanings, and Alec Baldwin.)

    Republicans like Showtime, the History Channel, "NCIS," followed by “Castle,” “The Good Guys,” “The Middle” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” (This may be connected to Showtime's acclaimed "Homeland" series, plus the patriotic orientation of the two "NCIS" shows ... though Buyology notes that President Obama has said that "Homeland" is his favorite show. Maybe this is his definition of reaching out to the other side of the aisle?)

    Going beyond the entertainment arena, the research shows that a Jeep is “most desired” for Democrats, while a BMW has that distinction for Republicans. The NFL has a great emotional connection for Democrats, while Major League Baseball led among the GOP.

    Finally, there are some brands in a variety of segments on which there is bi-partisan agreement - Coke, Visa, Google, Apple and - go figure - Oil of Olay.

    While the research has been done in order to point out where political candidates can - and should - talk to their bases and/or possible converts, it also has the effect of making some folks - in this case, me - realize how bipartisan they are.

    For example, I love "The Daily Show" and "30 Rock," but I also love the original "NCIS" and "Castle" and prefer Major League Baseball to the NFL. And, given a choice, I'd much rather own a BMW.

    I'm guess I'm just a model for the new bipartisanship.

    How about you?

    I suspect that most people's brand preferences don't break down along such specific ideological lines - and that the stark divide and incivility that roils the nation's politics are seen more in Washington, DC, in political campaigns, and on the fringes of either party. Which shouldn't be an Eye-Opener, but often is...
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    The Wall Street Journal reports that in the wake of his decision to pull the company out of Greece because of that nation's troubled economy and uncertain future, Carrefour's new CEO, George Plassat, says that he believes that it will take him three years to turn around the world's second largest retailer.

    Plassat also says that his goal is to "reduce the French retailer's global footprint and improve the efficiency of its stores as he seeks to bolster profitability," as well as reducing debt and cutting overhead wherever possible.
    KC's View:
    Maybe this speaks well of Walmart's efforts to acquire Bolivia and Columbia operations from Carrefour.

    And, if you're interested in acquiring one of Carrefour's global division, just give Plassat a call. Bulgaria, perhaps? Or Algeria? Carrefour's corporate headquarters phone number is 33-1-55-63-39-00. Ask for George.

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    CNBC reports that Michael Francis, the former Target executive who was brought in to JC Penney by CEO Ron Johnson to help reinvent the company's marketing and merchandising operations, is leaving the company after just nine months. His responsibilities will be absorbed by Johnson, the former Apple Store exec who has promised to transform the moribund JC Penney's into something more compelling and profitable.

    According to the story, "Little detail was given about the departure of Mr. Francis. However, based on the recent marketing campaign which has sent confused customers in to the arms of competitors, Ron Johnson may have felt the need to clear the decks."

    Advertising Age writes that "JC Penney's marketing has been generally well received, from a creative standpoint, though there have been issues with the messaging. Many consumers have been confused about the retailer's pricing strategy, leading to a series of marketing adjustments. New ads have been running explaining the strategy, while the more straightforward word 'sale' has been substituted for 'month-long value'."
    KC's View:
    I really want Johnson to succeed. In part, I guess, because somehow I have an emotional investment in seeing Apple alums do well when they go to other companies. (Not sure why, but I do.) And, in part, because his plans for JC Penney seem audacious, and I like audacity.

    But it may be that in the current competitive and economic environment, it is near impossible to pull off the kind of dramatic turnaround that he's planning. I hope not. But this may be the case, and this story may be the beginning of the unraveling. If so, I have no idea what Penney's next options might be.

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    The Sheboygan Press press reports that Piggly Wiggly Midwest CEO Paul Butera says that while he feels he has "exhausted his options" as he tries to save the company's south side Sheboygan flagship store from closure, he remains open to "viable solutions."

    Butera made the comments, the story says, after the company announced that it would close the store later this year because of what it said were obstacles and "fictitious delays" created by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents employees there.

    “The company is open and willing to consider all reasonable cost-cutting and profit-generating options which can be implemented timely and which will have an immediate and material impact without the need for further cash infusions into the Sheboygan store or its operations,” Butera said in a prepared written statement.

    The UFCW said that it would meet anytime with management to re-start negotiations, though it also has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the company of retaliating against the union by threatening the closure.

    The story notes that the closure announcement "followed a decision a month ago by an administrative law judge ordering the company to restore full-time status and benefits to represented employees whose hours were reduced without bargaining with their union back in September, shortly after the union’s labor deal expired."
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    • The Florida Times Union reports that Walmart plans to open two of its neighborhood Market format stores in Jacksonville, occupying space that formerly was used by Food Lion before it pulled out of the Northeastern Florida market.

    Save-A-Lot and Rowe’s IGA Supermarkets also are said to be acquiring some of the former Food Lion spaces.
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    Agence France-Presse reports that Tesco is pulling out of Japan, 10 months after originally announcing its intentions, by selling 50 percent of its shares in Tesco Japan to Aeon, the nation's largest retailer. According to the story, those shares are being sold for a "nominal amount," and then Tesco will invest the equivalent of about $60 million (US) in the joint venture "to finance further restructuring."

    The deal, according to the story, leaves Tesco with "no further financial exposure to the Japanese business."

    KC's View:
    Reminds me of the old joke about the event that was so awful that admission was free ... you have to pay to get out.

    Which is what Tesco seems to be doing here.

    Wonder if this is some sort of precursor of what could happen with the Fresh & Easy division in the US?

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    • The Denver Post reports that Colorado-based "Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage plans to raise as much as $115 million in an initial public offering."

    According to the story, "Natural Grocers operates 55 stores in 10 states. It has more than 30 stores in Colorado, with more than half in metro Denver. In its filing, the company said it wants to expand its store base to at least 1,100 locations."

    • The Detroit News reports that "the nation's first supercenter turned 50 this month," as Meijer celebrates the 1962 opening of its first Thrift Acres store in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    • The Baltimore Sun reports on how last Sunday morning, an estimated 2,000 customers lined up outside the new Wegmans in Columbia County in Maryland, waiting to get in at 7 am when the store finally opened its doors.

    Store Manager Wendy Webster said that the response to the 135,000 square foot store was bigger and better than anticipated.
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    MNB continues to get email about the proposed NYC ban on jumbo sodas being sold by selected venues (restaurants, but not c-stores) ... and I seem to have inflamed things by suggesting that there is little connection between this ban and what I see as the completely justified tobacco bans that have made the US (or, at least, its bars, restaurants, cinemas, sports venues and airplanes, among other places) a far more pleasant - and, more importantly, safer - place to live.

    I think it is fair to say that this MNB user disagreed...though at least he is amused:

    It is amusing to see how when someone agrees with a new law based on their personal feelings and beliefs it is a good law, but when they disagree with it for whatever reason it is automatically a bad law, even when those two laws may mirror each other exactly. The differences you cite in the beverage and smoking bans are really not that different. You say different because smoking is addictive, is not caffeine that is in large beverages addictive. You say that the smoking ban has made places you frequent more pleasant, but are they more pleasant for the smoker, not when you have to sit through a 4 hour game. You say that tobacco kills, how many folks out there are touting their new and ridiculous anti fat laws due to health concerns that could lead to death. And before you bring up the second hand smoke argument about it affecting those who don't smoke, I say if a person drinks enough large sugary drinks to grow to 500 lbs and that person falls on you, are you not likely to be injured or die even though you may have never consumed a large sugary beverage. I am sure you are gonna balk at that last one as farfetched, but there are still respected scientists that say that the statistics about second hand smoke a greatly exaggerated. So you, like everyone else draws the line at what affects you and your life personally, rather than from the unbiased point of view you try sometimes to portray.

    Yeah, well, those same scientists are probably the ones who said that cigarette smoking doesn't cause cancer. I have no idea what the statistics might be, but it seems like a pretty good bet that it is far more likely that one will suffer from the health effects of second hand smoke than be crushed by a 500 pound person. Just guessing, here of course. (I also felt compelled to write this because I did not want you to be disappointed by a less than predictable response.)

    For the record, I think that most people agree with laws that support their personal beliefs and behavior, and disagree with those that are in opposition to those beliefs and behavior.

    Two final responses to his email.

    One. I think it is a crock to suggest that these two laws "mirror each other exactly."

    Two. I never, ever suggest that I have an unbiased point of view. I mean, come on. Two-thirds of my stores have "KC's Views" attached to them. I make a living expressing my opinion. Your email was a response to my opinion, not to a dispassionate statement of facts. Now, I think that the facts support my opinion better than yours ... and, thank goodness for my lungs and longevity, most people probably would agree with me on this one.

    MNB user Steve Kneepkens wrote:

    I call this out as absolute crap. Smoking is legal –  I don’t doubt that smoking is terrible for you. But let people decide if they want to die a slow death. I am sure there are effects of second hand smoke – but no research can prove the extent. It is a scare tactic. Just like the breast cancer awareness stuff that goes on. How much money is spent on “awareness” and the levels have not come down? It is essentially a fraud. Another big organization telling me what they don’t really know and how they really cant effect the outcome. Cancer rates are not down. But make sure everyone is scared so they give more money.

    Bars, restaurants, movie theaters, etc should be able to choose. Don’t tell me what I can do. Don’t go to a bar where they allow smoking – YOU CHOOSE.

    Don’t you see? Liberty is GOD given – not Kevin Coupe given or Michael Bloomberg given or Obama given or given by any human being. None of you created me so none of you control me… your only hope is that I act like YOU want me to act. CRAP!

    One day you will wake up and you will realize it is one of your personal liberties that is gone (like wearing black turtlenecks) than you will realize – oh that affects me – so now start shouting out. Look beyond yourself – and stop judging others habits – because that is what you are doing without saying it. Heck if you want to shoot heroin in Times square I would say do it as long as you don’t bother me about it.

    I'd like to say that they'll get get my black turtleneck when they cut it off my cold, dead neck.

    MNB user James P. Scher wrote:

    So I keep reading the debates and it is hard to defend Bloomberg’s actions or refute most of the commentary and responses you have achieved.  However, we should not forget that we all pay the price for obesity, higher health insurance costs, lower productivity, risks to ambulance and fire departments, crowded seats on an airplane, etc etc.  At what point does the debate of peoples freedom to choose and live whatever lifestyle they would like impose upon others freedom to fly comfortably, pay a fair premium for healthcare, and manage all of the other negative impacts of the obesity epidemic.

    MNB user Mark Raddant wrote:

    Eliminating large sodas and popcorn is only symbolic.  What is needed is to allow insurance companies to underwrite for obesity.

    That would be fun, for many reasons.  One would be watching companies who have workers sitting in one place all day suddenly being charged more for those worker’s ill health effects. The other would be to watch those same companies try to pass the obesity “surcharge” on to the same employees they task with jobs which eliminate possibility of movement for much of the day.

    Now, we simply socialize the ill effects of the obesity epidemic, and fit people and everyone else pay more to subsidize the obese.

    Another great idea would be to QUIT SUBSIDIZING SUGAR.  And then, TAX IT, just like liquor and cigarettes.  (More fun: watching farm belt Senators go apoplectic over that idea.)

    MNB user John Lert wrote:

    I thought I would chime in my 2-cents-worth on the subject of the ban on jumbo sodas in NYC. I think Bloomberg’s goal here is admirable and that obesity is a very legitimate public interest, but his mistake was in banning the jumbo sugar-filled drinks outright instead of just putting a high tax on them. Call it a “sugar tax”. I believe the main reason why people buy those outsized drinks is that they a much greater value on a cost-per-ounce basis than the smaller sizes, the logic being “Gee, for an extra 10% in price I can get 50% more soda” or whatever the numbers are. And for the retailer, the actual cost of goods is so low that they make slightly more margin on that extra price increment. But if you put a big tax only on the jumbo size (say any serving more than 12 ounces), the cost-per-ounce equation then favors the smaller sizes, few people (if any) would buy the jumbo size, and his portion-reducing goals would be achieved.

    Also, few people would question the right of government to use taxes to achieve human behavioral goals—they do it all the time—so a tax would not be seen as a draconian measure and the uproar would be negligible. He could even have declared that the additional taxes would be directed into city-sponsored anti-obesity programs in the public schools. I suppose there would have been loud complaints by retailers about the added administrative burden required to collect this special tax, but when did that ever really stand in the way of government decisions? And if such a burden were a major problem, many retailers would simply stop selling the product on their own, which would further contribute to the success of his initiative. Seems like a major missed opportunity to me.

    And from another reader: While I hate the idea of government imposing such limitations, I an sympathetic to the fact that Bloomberg is trying to grapple with a tough problem. I also don't think he's running for anything,

    If he DOES run, his platform is going to be "the only bad things in life are immoral, illegal, or fattening.  I'm working on the third one."

    Last week, in a piece that was critical of the boorish behavior exhibited by some people when they use social media to viciously attack sports stars who are on Facebook and Twitter, I suggested that if I were a team owner, I would put in each of my players' contracts a requirement that they stay off Twitter and Facebook.

    Well, you'd think that I had suggested taxing jumbo soft drinks.

    MNB user Mark Olivito wrote:

    You are defending social media on one hand, rightfully so blaming bad behavior on the fans that spew anger over the edge.  Then you want to ban athletes for participating in SM for fear that they will say something stupid?  Contradiction!  Character + Common sense matter, owners that are concerned with bad PR are well advised to evaluate more than a radar gun or 40 yard dash.  Successful owners get “branding” and the players that shape it, but I agree that many players need protection….from themselves.

    From another reader:

    I think the regular yelling on all of the talking head shows (news and sports), politics and TV made discourse on “reality” TV is rearing its ugly head in social media.  I agree that there will always be jerks and people who speak and act inappropriately, but when you see it on TV every day that yelling and demeaning someone who doesn’t agree with you is acceptable then it becomes the new norm.  I hate that it has come to this.  I am old enough to remember the “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” generation.  There was a former radio talk show host in Southern California named Michael Jackson (no, not that one) and he was always pleasant.  When he didn’t agree with a caller he would let them have their say and would end with let’s agree to disagree.  The lack of civility in society worries me.

    Another MNB user chimed in:

    Personally, I love when the athletes use social media as a way to engage the fans.  I am a diehard Steelers fan, and many of our players have active Facebook pages that they use to engage with the fans.  While a couple have been irresponsible with their comments (Rashard Mendenhall, I'm talking to you), the vast majority have used it as an opportunity to engage with fans on a personal level, share connections, promote charities and generally present a human side to players we normally see only in uniform.  The idea that you can't taint all fans because of the bad behavior of a few applies to the athletes as well.  Most are respectful, honest, often funny and are using social media as a tool to market the sport, their team and themselves.  Instead of outlawing use of social media, the leagues should provide mentoring on how to do so responsibly.

    And, from still another reader:

    With your views on transparency, I’m really surprised to hear you say this.  I think it’s great the fans get insight into the minds of their favorite players via social media.  It removes barriers that create hero-worship and humanizes the multi-million dollar athlete.  And I believe casual fans are more likely to attend a sporting event if they feel engaged in conversations with the athlete or the team.  I read awhile back the Washington Capitals were encouraging their players to take to social media and engage with their fans.  Ownership realized there would be mistakes made along the way, and executive management in major corporations should realize the same when it comes to engaging with their “fans” via social media.  Too many companies are afraid their starting pitcher may say something stupid.

    I only wish Bobby Orr had a Twitter account back in the day…

    MNB user Dan Jones wrote:

    Fans want to connect with their team and the players, and Twitter is a great way to do that.  A few abusive fans should not prevent that.

    Errors are made in the field.  They will be made in social media as well.  But you need to be able to let fans connect with players – otherwise you are just rooting for laundry.

    And, from yet another MNB user:

    Kevin – you had me till the last paragraph. You wax on about not blaming social media, and then you turn around and do just that. Restricting player access to social media won't fix a player who doesn't know enough to keep quiet. There are too many places and methods to misbehave. 

    We continue to blame the medium, when the problem is the user. And unfortunately, fixing "dumb" isn't easy to do.

    As in, fat, dumb and stupid is no way to go through life?

    To be clear, I said "if I were an owner." In my current position, with different priorities, I don't feel the same way.

    Last week, we took note of a a study by YouGov BrandIndex looking at the brands which the highest level of perception among fathers. The top ranked brands were, in order, M&M's ... Subway ... Snickers ... Sony ... Planters ... Cheerios ... Amazon ... Bose ... Johnson & Johnson ... and Lowe's.

    I commented:

    Maybe I have to get my testosterone levels checked. To be honest, only one of these probably would have made my top 10 of brands that I perceive as relevant to my life.

    Apple would be first. Amazon would be second. Diet Coke would be third. Starbucks would be fourth. LL Bean would be fifth (it is the clothing label I see the most when I get dressed). New Balance and Rockport would be tied for sixth (they make the only products I ever put on my feet). Stew Leonard's would be eighth. AMC Theaters would be ninth. And I'm having trouble coming up with a tenth. (It certainly would not be a candy. And definitely not a home-improvement chain.)

    MNB user Gary Harris (who, for reasons that will become clear in a moment, works for Wegmans), offered his own list:

    Wegmans (surprise!) ... Home Depot ... Apple ...  GMC ... Bosch ... DeWalt ... Henckels ... Blue Moon ... Herman J Wiemer ... Cracker Barrel.

    From another reader:

    The Dad name brand thing… you probably fall more under the metrosexual category based on your top "9"! LL Bean, Starbucks, Rockport and New Balance? Come on… man-up!
    Sporting event-watch the game at home brands:
    M&M's ...
    Subway ...
    Snickers ...
    Sony ...
    Bose ......
    Need to feed kids something healthy/quick and not cook brand:
    Cheerios ...
    Don't want to go to the store to get it brand:
    Amazon ...
    Must smell good, not itch, no flake brand:
    Johnson & Johnson ... a
    Wife is nagging and I'd better fix it brand:
    Clearly you either have more time on your hands than Dads with younger kids and/or bigger budget and more understanding spouse!

    Sure, I probably have more time on my hands than when my kids were young. And I certainly have an understanding spouse. But a bigger budget...not likely.

    And this may be the first time I've ever been described as metrosexual.

    MNB user Mike Franklin wrote:

    I live a simple life…I only need six brands…
    NIKE – running, apparel, golf, outdoor, casual
    Apple – phone
    Ninkasi – Beer
    Walnut studiolo – bicycle accessories (one of my son’s businesses)
    Widmere – beer
    Barnes & Nobel - books

    And MNB user Terry Pyles wrote:

    I think I may have to get my brain cell levels checked; because I am having the hardest time figuring out what the heck a “perception level” is.  Doesn’t the word perception require some sort of context?  Perception of quality?  Value?  Something else?  Or do you think they really mean recognition as opposed to perception?  Or maybe relevance.  Or maybe I’m just having a Vinny Barbarino moment, i.e., I’m so confused!

    We also had a story last week about studies saying that men are doing more food shopping, which I suggested means that maybe stores could do more to attract men.

    Which led MNB user Jarrett Paschel to write:

    What people forget when they read the data about fathers doing more of the family shopping is that dual parent families with kids living under a single roof are an ever dwindling, and increasingly irrelevant population--at least from a numbers perspective. Singles vastly outnumber married households, and around 40% of all parents are single.

    Moreover, suggesting that retail spaces need to be "re-thought" for men is no different, and ill advised, than the belief that the retail space should be designed with mom in mind. If you look at any of the best in class food retailers, it's evident that they designed their stores not with moms or dads but with food in mind.  Food marketers and retailers are free to imagine an America like that portrayed by Norman Rockwell, but that doesn't match reality. And it is not even close. The story here is not about families. It is the food.

    Good point.

    MNB user Andre Jaeger wrote:

    The ultimate man-product is beer.  How is beer advertised?  That’s right, girls in skimpy bikinis jello wrestling for a Coors Light.  I can’t wait for the Retail Marketers to catch on.

    Two final things.

    In a discussion last week in which I defended myself against accusations that I look down my nose at people who eat at McDonald's, I offered the following coda:

    (I have to go in a minute. I have to go buy some octopus to grill up for dinner tonight, and then figure out what white wine I'm going to serve with it...)

    MNB user Anne Maas wrote:

    Can't wait to read what wine you found to complement the grilled octopus!

    Your sense of humor rocks ...

    Thanks. I ended up going in a different direction in terms of food over the weekend. But I did have a great white wine...which I'll talk about on Friday.

    And responding to a comment I made last week in which, after one guy said that when I do FaceTime commentaries from hotel rooms I need to make the bed, I said that it would have been worse if there had been a blonde in the bed, MNB user Doug Morales wrote:

    Somehow I don’t see Mrs. Content Guy finding the humor in the blonde in the hotel bed…unless Mrs. Content Guy is a blonde!

    She's not. But she did. We've been together a long time.
    (At least, she found the comment funny. Not sure she'd feel the same way about an actual blonde. Then again, she found it both funny and true when a woman once said about me, 'The only thing safer than Kevin is staying home."

    Which, for the record, I thought was one of the most hateful things anyone ever said about me.)
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 19, 2012

    Roger Clemens, the former star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, was acquitted yesterday of six counts of lying to Congress when he denied using performance enhancing drugs.

    As the New York Times put it, "The verdict, which came on the second full day of deliberations in United States District Court, was a significant defeat for the government in its second failed attempt at convicting Mr. Clemens and will most likely fuel criticism of prosecutors for investing time and money in cases involving athletes accused of doping."

    Clemens could have faced 30 years in prison if he had been convicted on all counts. Instead, his name has been cleared .... and he will be eligible for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
    KC's View:
    I have such mixed emotions on this one.

    It seems to me that the US Congress ought to have better things to do that investigate steroids in baseball. But once that investigation has been launched, people should not be able to lie to Congress. If you think they've lied while under oath, you are duty bound to prosecute ... though if you do so, you'd better come to the dance with a better prosecution witness than Brian McNamee, the former trainer who had questionable credibility when testifying against Clemens. (And you'd better make sure that one of your other main witnesses doesn't change his story while testifying, as Andy Pettitte did when he pulled a Frankie Pentangeli on the stand.

    I do know this. I am persuaded that Clemens did steroids. If I had a vote, he'd never get into the Hall of Fame.