Celebrity Headstones

In the spirit of All Souls Day here are a few souls who had a sense of humor in life and I hope in the hereafter.

Girl Scout uniforms to be made in China.

The owners of a family-run New Jersey factory that makes uniforms for the Girl Scouts of America said they may be forced to close or lay off workers if the organization takes its business to China.

I have nothing against China…I am sure they will make them well…they are making fake Levi’s so well that even my Levi’s client can hardly tell the difference. They also used to make all of Chairman Mao’s cool uniforms as well.

It seems to me however that an American institution like the Girl Scouts should at least try and keep jobs in America.

Jackie Evans Inc. employs 90 workers at its plant in Passaic, a once-booming manufacturing city in northern New Jersey, about 10 miles west of New York City. They’ve been making uniforms and sashes for the sole client for about a decade.

The Girl Scouts told the company a few weeks ago that it would be seeking bids, including one from a company in China, according to Domenick Monaco, the son of owner Mario Monaco.

“Our main motive is to keep jobs in the United States, and find a fair way to keep prices affordable,” said Domenick Monaco, who helps run the company. He said his family was exploring ways to come up with a bid by the mid-November deadline, including seeking grants or government help to keep prices competitive.

Barry Horowitz, vice president and general manager for merchandise for the Girl Scouts, emphasized that no decision has been reached. The organization is soliciting proposals from four companies. Two are overseas, including one in China.

“We are engaging in good business practices,” he told reporters, “Like any manufacturer who uses fabric, we have an obligation to deliver the best value to our members and their parents.”

Eagles Concert in Atlanta

The Eagles may never get the critical adulation of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, but they still have what it takes to entertain. And they didn’t disappoint the die-hards who attended last week’s packed Green Concert at Piedmont Park with a set list laden with greatest hits from their 1970s heyday…although my favorite, Already Gone, did not make the set!

Their vocals, harmonies and musicianship were impeccable. Their sturdy portfolio of songs, played ad infinitum on the radio over the decades, were well represented, from “Take it to the Limit” to “Hotel California” to “Lyin’ Eyes” to “Life in the Fast Lane.”

The audience (50,000 strong) vibe was happily California mellow, the odor of a certain illegal substance wafted through the air and the backdrop of a half-crescent moon and the Atlanta skyline comforting. With each song I was thinking, dang am I that old?

Though Don Henley, at age 63, is looking his age thanks to a paunch and white beard, he hasn’t lost his vocal skills, infusing songs with a sheen of sadness and longing, especially “Desperado.” I loved it.

Unlike other bands, which cut out solo hits by individual band members (no way the Go Go’s are playing Belinda Carlisle’s “Mad About You”), the Eagles were very generous. Atlantans heard three solo hits each from Joe Walsh and Henley, plus “Funk #49″ from Walsh’s band James Gang. (Sorry, Glenn Frey solo fans. No “Heat is On” or “You Belong to the City.”)

Henley’s solo hit “Dirty Laundry,” with the video screen popping up shots of Bill O’Reilly, Nancy Grace and the recently ousted Rick Sanchez, remains as relevant as ever 28 years later. Walsh was the loosest, goofing around after being introduced with some silly vocal exercises. His solo songs provided some welcome punch and edge to the proceedings.

While “Desperado” is typically their final song, they decided on the spur of the moment to play a second encore. It took a few moments to get ready because the crew wasn’t ready for it, but they gave the crowd an excuse to sway a few more minutes to “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” to conclude their two hours.

Here was the set list:
1. Seven Bridges Road
2. How Long Play
3. Take it to the Limit
4. Hotel California
5. Peaceful Easy Feeling
6. I Can’t Tell You Why
7. Witchy Woman
8. Lyin’ Eyes
9. One of These Nights
10. The Boys of Summer
11. In The City
12. The Long Run
13. Life’s Been Good
14. Dirty Laundry
15. Funk #49
16. Heartache Tonight
17. Life in the Fast Lane
18. Take It Easy
19. Rocky Mountain Way
20. Desperado
Encore 2
21. All She Wants to Do Is Dance

Going back to University after 25 years? I did…online.

Many people ask me why I decided after so many years to go back to University to earn an MBA….that is a very good question….there were so many reasons.

I think first and foremost because I was departing the comfort of a big global company with vast resources and very smart people I felt I needed the credibility of the MBA…I had the experience but always felt I needed the creds…
I thought if I heard one more client say let’s get some MBA’s thinking about this I would pummel them. I needed that diploma!

I do however believe that people place entirely too much stock in executives who have an MBA directly out of school…most had no real workplace experience so the concepts they learned in their universities had no real impact on them and the students could readily apply what they learned on the job.

Our clients and firms were very often disappointed by performance and output of young execs with MBA credentials. I am sure there are exceptions but as a rule we always found their proposals weak in terms of actionable solutions.

Because i had so much real on the ground experience, I found the MBA learning experience to be exhilarating…I could apply virtually every concept I encountered to real projects that I had encountered over my career…It was like an MBA program on steroids.

I also found the University of Phoenix online program to be an excellent way to go…the classes were small and the courses were taught by “working” professionals with real jobs and real challenges. I also give high marks to the online resources like the extensive library…I had every stat I could every want to bolster my business cases at my fingertips.

The online atmosphere created more dialogue and interaction with fellow students and professors versus my experiences in real classrooms…and the interaction was all week long not just the hour or two that I experienced in a brick and mortar classroom.

National Pasta Day

pasta day
October 17th was officially National Pasta Day! I had no idea there was a pasta day as I am Italian…every day is a pasta day! My mom is always making meatballs and sauce or should I say, “gravy” for our pasta dinner.

There are literally HUNDREDS of different shapes of pasta, inlcuding spaghetti, fusilli, lasagne, etc. For someone who is bad at making decisions, picking out a type of pasta is always tough! It’s hard to beat fresh linguini.

Here is a fun fact about pasta…I had always heard that Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China BUT did you know Thomas Jefferson is known for introducing pasta to the United States… Thank you Mr.Jefferson!

Thomas Jefferson, rightly or wrongly credited with first bringing pasta to the tables of Americans, drew a picture of a pasta-making machine. This drawing, now in the Library of Congress, resulted from a trip to Italy taken by Jefferson in 1787. Don’t forget that “macaroni” served as a generic name for pasta and doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re talking abut elbow macaroni.


Here’s recipe for Macaroni Pudding from Thomas Jefferson’s Cook Book (the recipe actually comes from Mrs. Horace Mann, Marie Kimball’s version of Jefferson’s cook book)

Cook macaroni in milk until tender; 2 ounces to a pint of milk will make a good-sized pudding. Add 5 eggs, 3/4 cup of sugar, flavor with lemon or rose water and bake one hour. Well doesn’t sound like my mom’s.

In honor of pasta day I declare this pasta week. I will start tonight by having angel hair pasta with ricotta cheese.