Monthly Archives: January 2014

Farewell David Stern

photo

Photo taken on location in Seattle, WA

After 30 years, today is David Stern’s last day as Commissioner of the NBA. I bid him farewell.

Dear David Stern,

I think even Mark Cuban can agree, the legacy you are leaving behind after 30 years as NBA Commissioner is tremendous. I would list your many accomplishments but it has already been done so well here and here.

Everyone doesn’t love you though; Honestly, I would have liked to see you step down about 5 years ago. I have some friends in Seattle who aren’t too fond of you, Mr. Stern. I understand you have to let teams go where the money takes them but the Seattle SuperSonics were a classic franchise. Some of your decrees have felt a little… out of touch. Most recently, your outrage towards the San Antonio Spurs was uncalled for and frankly out of your jurisdiction. You can’t argue with their results and that’s coming from a Mavericks fan.

But let’s not dwell on the past. We made it through the post-Jordan street-ball era and the future is bright for the NBA and the sport as a whole. I’d love to see the D-League continue to grow in scope. Maybe bring one to San Diego? I’m also excited about the growing interest in basketball internationally. In your words, basketball is one of America’s finest cultural exports. Sport is one of the best forms of diplomacy, just ask Dennis Rodman.

Thank you for your dedication to the NBA and the sport of basketball.

~Hayden

PS: Way to keep the Commissioner position within the tribe 😉

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Cubes

Dear Mark Cuban,

To preface:

I’m a certified, card carrying MFFL. Thank you for the only sports championship I can remember or have ever really cared about. I have a short story to recount with you.

I was in 7th grade at Lakehill Prep in east Dallas. As they do every year, the folks from UNICEF came to our school to discuss the impact of our donations. This many cents buys vitamins for a week, that many dollars feeds a person for a month, and so on. But this year was different. Aside from the altruistic benefits of giving, there was a prize for the school who raised the most money: THE Dallas Mavericks will come to your school!

Well that certainly got my attention. We fund raised and scrapped and begged for weeks. Then one day we had an assembly and some news camera showed up. The rumors started flying. Is this it?! How many Mavericks are here?! All of them? IS DIRK HERE?!!!?

We were informed we had indeed raised the most money in our division and GUESS WHAT KIDS! Coach Donnie Nelson Jr. and Willie Hernandez from the wheel chair Mavericks are here!

..womp..

Donnie Nelson proceed to give this weird speech about defending against terrorism (this was shortly after Sept. 11). Then Willie, who we (I’m not so proud to admit) started calling “Wheelie”,  told us about his rise to the highest levels of wheel chair basketball. And that was it. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I would have been satisfied with one Maverick, even if it was just Tariq Abdul Wahad.  I couldn’t stay too mad at the Mavs so UNICEF took the brunt of the blame. I swore to never give another cent to UNICEF and wrote you an email about it.

Cool story huh?

Well GO MAVS, I’ll catch you at the game tomorrow.

Sincerely, Hayden

PS: Have any plans to get fined by the new NBA Commissioner yet?

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Self Help

That hair.

Dear Susan RoAne,

I caught the end of your talk on NPR  about the impact of a personalized note in our digitized world. I have a penchant for writing letters myself, one every day in fact, though a true handwritten letter is rare at this point. My handwriting is well… lets just say I’ve been told to pursue a career as a physician (although personally, I think my cursive if beautiful).

Much of your discussion was about the value of a handwritten thank you note. My mommy taught me well and I also believe it goes a long way. This summer I spent lots of time traveling/crashing on couches. Afterwards, I mailed my hosts a thank you note with a CD of music which was very well received. On the radio you mentioned that if you received a worthwhile handwritten letter, you would reply and send a pack of thank you notes. This letter has been transcribed and mailed to the address at the bottom of your website. But my letter to you today isn’t just for a free handout.

You are a writer, a speaker, and a coach. Your books (of which I have read none) aim to give people the skills and confidence they desire to present and network themselves well. Because  everyone feels out of place and awkward sometimes, your potential audience is huge. I recently read an interesting book called Quiet by Susan Cain, which discusses the concept of the “extrovert idea” and how our society places such a high value on extroversion. Everyone thinks they need to be hyper-extroverted to succeed when that’s not necessarily the case. And this is where you cash in. Not to generalize your work but I’m not a big believer in self-help books. As a genre I think they prey on people’s hopes and insecurities.

Looking forward to my thank you notes 😉

~Hayden

RESPONSE:

Hayden,
   Writing a letter a day is a wonderful project. I’m glad you caught the end of the interview. I read Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, before I revised How To Work a Room® because of her very publicized  position on the superiority of introverts. 
   You wrote that you’re not “a big believer in self-help books” but apparently you found hers to be informative. That’s good.
    What I said on KERA is that there is a place in my book where I address handwritten thank you notes. If a reader sends me a    
one, I’ll send them a package of notes.
   Although that’s not the case here, I will happily send you a package of notes.  Do not ever worry about illegibility of penmanship….mine is not good either. What counts is the effort and the personal touch that is so rare.
 
    Susan RoAne
Keynote Speaker/Best-Selling Author
 
Sent from my Cool iPad2!
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POTUS

My man 50 grand.

Our President Barack Obama will give his annual State of the Union address tonight. I hope he reads my letter before the speech. GO BIG OR GO HOME. 

Dear Mr. President

Tonight I will be listening to your 6th State of the Union address. I make a habit of listening to it on the radio rather that watching it on TV. Depending on which network you watch, the camera work has a significant effect on the viewing experience. I just want the words, the speech, the tone and inflection in your voice, not quick camera cuts to Ted Cruz muttering under his breath.

Here is what I hope you address in your speech tonight and the upcoming year.

We have left Iraq and are in the process of pulling out of Afghanistan, but we have not seen any financial difference on our war spending. I know the war machine is big and mean (just ask JFK), but everyone agrees that spending needs to be curtailed. Lets start here.

In 2012 you issued a presidential decree to no longer deport young undocumented immigrants. This is a step in the right direction, no doubt, but there is much more to be done on the immigration front. Full citizenship is a tough sell but how about work visas that let them contribute to the tax base and the economy? Because we continue to ignore the dire situation across the border, these people have no choice but to take a chance in America. Congress is somewhat amiable to a discussion on this issue because they want to appeal to hispanic voters too (all of a sudden).

The infrastructure of our country, specifically the power grid, is of Third World standards. Bridges are reaching their expiration dates with few plans to fix them, replace them, or find a better option. This is the most unsexy issue in Washington and does not incite passions from anyone other than the fiscal conservatives. These projects would put people to work, save TONS of electricity and be a real step toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

Good luck tonight.

PS: If you ever want to shoot some hoops and chat just holler.

If you want to email the president,you can do so here.

Baller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESPONSE:

Thank you for writing.  On January 28, I laid out my vision for the year ahead in my State of the Union address—and a set of concrete, practical proposals to create opportunity for all.

It is because of hardworking Americans across this country that we are poised for more progress.  Thanks to your grit and determined effort, our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 5 years.  Our housing market is rebounding.  Our manufacturing sector is adding jobs.  We produce more oil at home than we buy abroad.  Our deficits are cut by more than half.  And business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.

Millions of Americans outside of Washington—people who are tired of stale political arguments—are moving this country forward.  And I will do everything I can to help.  During my State of the Union address, I shared my ideas for expanding opportunity for all—things like raising the minimum wage, helping folks save for retirement, and making sure everyone can get a good education that leads to a good job.  You can see those ideas and learn more about them at www.WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.

Some of what I proposed requires Congress to act, and I am eager to work with them and make progress together.  But I will also take steps on my own to expand opportunity for more American families wherever I can—because America does not stand still, and neither will I.

The bottom line is we can make this a year of action.  We can restore the sense of opportunity that defines us as Americans.  It will not be easy, but if we work together, we can do it.  So let’s get started right away.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

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Catching a Buzz

Dear Jonah Peretti (Founder) and Jon Steinberg (President),

I am a millennial. I’m part of the “fast-forward generation.” The Attention Deficit Disorder generation. The participation award generation. Millenials have acquired lots of titles, few of which are flattering (haters). Many of these stem from the way we consume media. As journalism continues to evolve, some would say die, BuzzFeed is stacking up the likes and shares with your list-centric, easily digestible content. Many say that Buzzfeed is another nail in the coffin of journalism, a once proud and honorable industry. In reading the fine print of your ‘about’ section, Buzzfeed doesn’t claim to be the next New York Times, to quote:

“BuzzFeed is the social news and entertainment company. BuzzFeed is redefining online advertising with its social, content-driven publishing technology. BuzzFeed provides the most shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment and video across the social web to its global audience of 100M.”

For the most part, I would agree with this statement though “original reporting” might be a stretch. But you’re not out there trying to bring social issues to light or a break the story of the decade (or year, or month). You want views, click-thrus, and shares because it makes money. A wise man once said “cash rules everything around me,” so I can’t hate.

I know how much you like lists so here are the top 7 things that Buzzfeed achieves in my opinion.

7. Creating shareable, topical lists (obviously)

6. Cluttering my Facebook newsfeed

5. Distracting me at work, thanks (seriously)

4. Aggregating the backwash of the internet

3. Capturing the zeitgeist of the social media generation

2. A snicker here and there

1. Combating Smarm

I’m interested to watch the progression of Buzzfeed. As long as there are pictures of puppies and kittens on the internet you’ll be just fine.

Sincerely, Hayden

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Smoke, Salt, and Pepper

Dear John Mueller

I hear this all the time: “Hey man, we’re having some people over for a BBQ. We’ll have burgers and hot dogs but feel free to bring whatever else you want to toss on the grill.”

no.

That is not BBQ. You are not having a BBQ. Sure, you are cooking meat outdoors. But where I come from, BBQ is something that takes hours to smoke. BBQ is the art of turning a tough, often less desirable section of a cow or pig into something magical. And none do it better than you sir.

To go further with this artist analogy, lets compare you with Vincent Van Gogh. Your brisket would be “Sunflowers”: A straightforward, standard still-life that is totally your own take on a classic.

Brisket

Your pulled pork would be “Wheat Fields”: heavy on texture but light on subject matter and not without an ominous feel.

Pulled Pork

As most artists, you are remembered for your masterpiece. The beef rib is Starry Night; a celestial abstract conception of time and place. A deeply expressive work that embodies your essence as a pure Pit Master.

Beef Rib

As is often the case,  the artist is not without their struggles. I’ve read about your love/hate relationship with BBQ. I was so bummed when your place on South 1st closed down and feared we’d lost you for good that time. Luckily, circumstance will not stop the artist from creating. They find a way to pursue their craft, their passion.

I look forward to my next trip to John Mueller Meat Co. Until then, Pecan Lodge will suffice (maybe even rival…).

PS: EVERYONE says your name wrong. It’s pronounce “MEL-er” right?

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Chuck. Norris.

Dear Chuck Norris,

So I hear you have a grizzly bear rug in your room… the bear’s not dead though, he’s just afraid to move.

I felt compelled to start this letter one of my favorite Chuck Norris jokes. I wasn’t sure if you actually endorse Chuck Norris jokes but I see that you have one on the front page of your website.   Have you noticed how similar Chuck Norris jokes are to “the most interesting man in the world” commercials? I think maybe you got ripped off and need to go totally “Chuck Norris” on Jonathan Goldsmith.

So I see you like to write letters as well. You wrote a letter to Barack Obama after he won the Presidential Election in 2008 with some gentle suggestions. Six years into his presidency, how do you think he’s doing? Has he “lead from the center” and “learned from the mistakes of his Democratic predecessors”? I would guess you aren’t so pleased with his tenure as POTUS and I don’t think I even need to ask you about your stance on the Affordable Healthcare Act….

I went to a gun show in Dallas recently and you wouldn’t believe the blame and hatred people assign to our President. Or maybe you would. I know you are a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment and you live in Dallas. But why do you need a gun when your hands are already a lethal weapons?

One more Chuck Norris joke before I go: Chuck Norris doesn’t cheat death, he beat it fair and square.

Thanks for your time,

Hayden

PS: DUDE. You’re 73 years old?!

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Instagram Official

Dear Jordan Rogers,

A good dose of boredom with some Twitter digging lead me to your Tumblr and Instagram feed. Here is how things progressed: Centraltrack.com > Hance Taplin > kiddrae254.com > you. I guess that’s not too many degrees of separation to reach your very cool photographs. Now I’m one of your 26,000+ Instagram followers (a very legit amount of followers I may add). I made it all the way to your pics from the Czech Republic. I studied in Prague for a semester and that has to be the most photogenic city in the world. I also went to Kutna Hora (the bone-church). Pretty wild stuff huh?

After a little more research and I found this gem…

That is you right? I know I’m about 3 years late on these shirts but I NEED one. Are they still around?

Well take care. Keep the great pics coming. Go Mavs.

RESPONSE: 

Hayden,
Thanks for the kind words! I feel quite honored to be amongst the other people you’ve chosen. It feels more like: “Which of these does not belong?”

Glad you enjoy my photography. Wish I could updated the site more often. Instagram fits that bill more often bc it’s easier to update & capture on the go. I was fortunate enough to make it on Instagram’s “Suggested User”s list where they recommend certain users to new people signing up for their service. Since 100,00 new people sign up per day, my following grew by about 1500 people a day for two weeks. It was wild.

You found a gem from my Dirk shirt wild ride on our way to winning the championship. It’s a long story, but I had a little bit of luck combined with the Mavs victories. It made for a really fun summer. Long live Dirk! Send me your address & I’ll get you one in the mail.
Thanks again! Cool idea you’ve got going. Keep it up.

Jordan

P.S. I totally agree…the suburbs are the worst. I have suburbaphobia. Just the thought of having to move there sends shivers down my spine!

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Information Rape

Pam Dixon is the executive director of the World Privacy Forum. She is frequently quoted on the matter of personal privacy, or lack there of,  in the digital age. 

Hi Pam,

I came across the World Privacy Forum while reading about Office Max’s recent direct mail screw up; an especially insensitive and glaring example of how our deeply personal information ends up in the hands of marketers.

yikes

Being the Millennial that I am, I already assume everything about me is floating around the internet or in the hands of marketers. (Because I’m so special and the whole world should to know about me! Am I right other Millennials?!) I made peace with this a while ago. Most of my info is out there because I put it there. Two years of South-by-Southwest RSVP’s will do that pretty quickly. I know that every click I make is recorded. I know that every product I look at is noted. Hell, when I look at socks on the internet, Zappos will promote  Tweets to me for the next month. It’s lame but bearable.

But this topic of privacy in the era of “big data” extends beyond excessive junk mail to a deeper societal issue. Who gave marketers the the right to my information? To make money selling and trading my information? I sure didn’t, at least not explicitly. But the Constitution doesn’t specifically say they can’t either, so here we are. Privacy gets especially sticky when dealing with a person’s health information. There’s a major difference between what brand of cereal I eat in the morning and what  prescription drugs I take in the morning. Health is an extension of the body and the body is the most personal thing. If my health information is going to be whored out, I at least want a cut from the sale and a say in who receives it. Otherwise that’s just information rape.

One more thing. Do you really think Snapchat pictures just go away? I have serious doubts.

Thank you for advocating for our privacy.

~Hayden

PS: I see you’re based in San Diego, ‘America’s Finest City’. SDSU Alum right here.

RESPONSE:

Hi Hayden, thank you for your thoughtful note. I really enjoyed reading it and hearing from you! Snapchat pics don’t really go away quite the way everyone thinks they do, though my super geek friends tell me it is now improved from what it used to be.

I agree with your perspective on the continuum of what is important regarding privacy: medical/ health privacy gets top ranking in my book, along with some additional areas of highly sensitive information. I don’t think anyone in particular gave marketers the right to our info, but I sure would like to see us draw some limits on how that balance works right now. I’d really like to see all of us have rights to have a say about how or if our data is used. Especially stuff we all really care about.

Next time you are in San Diego, please do drop by. We are across the street from Cafe Bassam, would be happy to hear more of your thoughts.

Best, Pam

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Laura Miller’s Legacy

Dear Mrs. Laura Miller,

When you were mayor of Dallas, I was in the throes of adolescence and few years too young to care about what the Mayor was doing. Then I moved to California for college and to Austin for some more college. Now 6 years later, I’m back where it all began here in Dallas. The city has become more diverse, more urban and even more liberal. Looking back with perspective our side, I believe that many of the best things happening in Dallas (and those still to come) stem from battles you fought.

A close friend of mine lives in the Mercantile building downtown. You fought to revitalize this building as the keystone project for a downtown revitalization. Now the area is vibrant with young professionals and a destination for the city. As downtown continues to develop, there is the question of what to do with the decaying IH 345. A fellow named Patrick Kennedy has the bright idea to tear the sucker down and reunite downtown with Old East Dallas, potentially spurring billions in investment. Any thoughts on this?

You helped find a compromise with the Wright Amendment. Starting next year the city will benefit from lower airfares and easier access to travel. We didn’t get that People Mover to Love Field but instead got a trolley line into Oak Cliff (your former district). Of course I wish there was a way to fund both projects but you understand how these compromises happen. What do you think about the Oak Cliff trolley line? A worthwhile endeavor?

Last but not least, you pushed for progress on the Trinity River Project. I like being outside. I enjoy green spaces, bike paths, and urban lakes. These are some of the things I loved most about living Austin. But man what’s the hold up here? The Dawson State Jail which is already closed? The completely unnecessary tollway? The Army Core of Engineers saying there’s a sudden problem? I’m looking forward to (any) progress with this project and hopefully I can enjoy the amenities of a renewed Trinity River while I’m still able bodied. In the meantime, we’ll have some pretty bridges to look at.

Sorry, I know these issues are in your rear view mirror by now. You’ve moved onto the energy sector and are shaking things up there too. Honestly, I’m a little skeptical about “Clean Coal” (it sounds about as clean as natural gas…) but it’s better than the power plants that TXU wanted to build. Way to give em’ hell.

Thanks for your time. Hope to hear back.

~Hayden

PS: I have to mention Cowboys Stadium at least once. I would have loved to see it at Fair Park but again, with perspective,  it looks like it was never a feasible option. I’ll take new Dart lines over a stadium any day (too bad we can’t get Arlington on-board with some rail). And considering how damn embarrassing the team is these days, I don’t mind as much.

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