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Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Steve Cole ponders recent events, television shows, books he read, and other thoughts that sprang to mind.

1. I watch the show SISTER WIVES about that guy Cody and his four wives. The new season started and the story of the first episode focused on the failure of their internet jewelry business. (Two of the wives like the business, the other two and Cody aren't that interested. This isn't what caused the failure, but it has caused friction as the two who like the business don't understand why the other three don't want to be part of the "fun" of running it.) What I can tell them is that the jewelry is too expensive and the designs have a limited appeal. Certainly, the four-women logo pieces appeal only to groups of four women (sisters, sister wives, friends, or whatever). I can feel their pain. I have walked into trade shows with great expectations and known within an hour that I wasn't going to sell anything and was stuck sitting there for two days, wasting my time being miserable. The standard sales pitch ("This is the one I gave my sister wife for her birthday") is singularly ineffective.

2. Jean gave me a book called THE EAGLE UNBOWED which is about Poland in World War II. My eye-rolling reaction was "why did she get me THAT when everybody knows that the Poles are those awful soldiers who got whipped by the Germans in two whole weeks back in September 1939?" Well, that did happen, but it turns out Poland is somewhat more interesting than just that. All the stories of the British codebreakers in Bletchley Park ignore the fact that it was the Poles who told the British how the Enigma machine worked. (The Germans accidentally shipped one to a Polish address and two Polish telephone engineers got to examine it before the Germans showed up to ask nicely if they could have their fancy typewriter back.) The Poles reverse engineered the machine and built their own copies, giving one to the British and another to the French. Polish fighter pilots were swell in the Battle of Britain because they had been combat tested in the Battle of Poland, so at least they weren't novices. (The Poles knew their equipment was bad, but orders for new tanks and planes were not delivered before the Germans attacked.) I have often made the joke that "Hitler and Stalin split up Poland and Stalin got to keep his half" but what Stalin wanted (and got, and kept) was an area that was only partly Polish (it was mostly Ukrainian and Byelorussian) and had been Russian territory prior to 1918.

3. The ship Andrea Doria was sunk by an accidental collision with the ship Stockholm in July of 1956, when I was five years old. I can actually remember seeing the ships sink on TV very nearly the day it happened. That is one of my earliest memories. (I know it wasn't a later documentary because I can remember my mother saying "that's happening right now.")

4. In the last decade, cocaine use in the US has dropped by 50%. In that same time, paramilitary operations in Colombia have cut cocaine production by 50%. That seems to me to mean that all of the anti-drug "dealing with the users not the producers" programs in the US have had zero effect and that the only way to win the drug war is on the ground where the drugs are produced.

5. I love trail mix as a snack but haven't really found one I love that much. I want fewer peanuts, fewer almonds, more cashews, and more fruit (raisins, cranberries, pineapple).

6. Remember when Tampa Bay was added to the NFL? I had a competing offer for the new team position (Amarillo Desperados) but the NFL got wind of my cunning plan and decided that it could not be allowed, so my bid (which actually won) was quietly forgotten. I had found a 7-foot-4-inch Watusi warrior named Matabunga who could kick a field goal from his own 20-yard-line. (To prevent other teams from simply breaking his legs in a convenient on-field "accident" I also hired his two brothers, three cousins, and four sons, all of whom could do it. I figured I have two or three on the team and the rest in reserve to replace anyone injured. Since I could hire the whole family for like eleven bucks a week it wasn't a big deal.) My plan was that I would have no expensive offensive unit, just the best defensive unit money could buy. (I'd pick the best defensive players on other teams and offer to double their salaries. Defensive players never get long contracts.) I'd also have a special team for kick returns. (Whenever we'd kick off, the ball would go into the stands so nobody would ever get a runback on us.) I had recruited lightweight-class sumo wrestlers for my front line, and South Korean martial arts expects as linebackers. I figured every time we got the ball we'd just kick a field goal and then give the other team the ball back on their own 20 yard line. If they scored about half of their possessions in the first half, I'd keep the game really close. Their offensive unit, playing 50 minutes of field time per game against the best defensive unit in the NFL, would be dead tired by the second half.