The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 6, 2021

Geese flying over a small pond in autumnThe geese get a final gander at the color-splashed landscape as they make their way to warmer environs.  (Skip Dickstein)

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

If you read as much news as we do, it’s hard to believe there could possibly be a shortage of turkeys in this country. But here we are. As Thanksgiving approaches, too few large birds in some places, too few small birds in others, and too few employees everywhere. Large gatherings seem likely to return in many homes this year and, even if the bird costs more, or a baked ham shows up instead, what the heck? We still have so much to be thankful for.

John Brodt would make a great cleanup hitter in any communications lineup.John Brodt would make a great cleanup hitter in any communications lineup.

OUR MVP: We pick up an extra hour this weekend and, at Behan Communications, we’re using it to celebrate our colleague John Brodt’s 30th anniversary. John is a master public communicator and marketer. He worked in the competitive world of minor league baseball early in his career and learned how to attract and entertain fans. He was so good at it, in fact, that in his early days with us, he nearly put a struggling restaurant client out of business with a masterful marketing idea that succeeded too well — huge crowds suddenly descended, producing traffic jams and a crush of hungry patrons too large for the restaurant to accommodate. Our clients entrust John with bet-the-farm challenges, like statewide referenda, for which he earned the highest honor in the public relations industry in the United States, the Public Relations Society’s Silver Anvil. To all of his work, he brings steadiness, clear-eyed, logic, a ready sense of humor, and a gift for the perfectly turned, and timed, phrase. He is a die-hard Yankees fan, hence the baseball card our colleague Troy Burns in his honor, and we, his colleagues and friends, are die-hard fans of his.

SCIENCE RULES: So says Bill Nye The Science Guy, and who are we to argue, given that scientists can, among other things, give us clues about the domestication of dogs by examining fossilized poop — clues that also may yield insights about the physical transformation in humans that enabled us to move from the meat-heavy diets of hunter-gatherers to the grains, vegetables and produce of farmers.

DON’T FENCE ME IN: That’ll teach ’em. Neighbors of a former golf course in Virginia Beach, Va., complained when the new owners let the place become an overgrown, weedy mess. The owner’s response wasn’t to clean up the place — it was to erect a tall, solid metal fence blocking the views only of those who complained.

CALL OF DUTY: By now we’ve all heard about The Great Resignation, the term given to the huge numbers of people who are quitting their jobs and either looking for something new or simply getting out of the rat race altogether (and a term that may be missing the big picture of what’s really happening altogether). A lot of those people were at or near retirement age, and when those people depart the workforce, they tend to stay out. Desperate employers (subscription required) want them back.

FROZEN IN TIME: Before there was Nancie Battaglia and Carl Heilman, brilliant photographers of all things Adirondack, there was Grover Cleveland. Not that one. This Grover Cleveland was a professional photographer in Lake Placid, N.Y., in the first half of the 20th century, documenting the region’s early tourism, its Olympic history and its famous visitors, including two U.S. presidents. His daughter, 100-year-old Clara Cleveland Bass, traveled to Lake Placid in September to present the local historical society with hundreds of her father’s glass plate photos and negatives, which are expected to be on display at the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society Museum in 2024.

WHAT’S IN A NAME: For an unassuming cable modem maker in Manchester, N.H., $4 million. For three years, the company we’ve all come to know as Zoom made various plays to secure the Zoom trademark, which belonged to a small outfit named Zoom Telephonics. Zoom Video Communications tried variations of the name and stylized type, but each was rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The windfall made it a profitable year for the former Zoom Telephonics, now known as Minim Inc. Can you jump on a quick Minim call?

MYTH VS. REALITY: Scott Fein, a prominent Albany attorney and partner at the law firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, has written a powerful piece systematically dismantling and debunking myths about immigration, specifically as it relates to upstate New York. Immigrants in upstate New York, he finds, are more likely to start a business, have disproportionately more spending power and live in cities where crime rates have declined as immigrant numbers have increased.

SILENCERS: Dr. Diana Palmer, who was just elected to a second four-year term on the Glens Falls Common Council, has co-authored a provocative piece positing that the exercise of Second Amendment rights — especially the open carrying of firearms at political protests — has a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of the protesters. “Whatever the motives of firearms carriers might be, the clear social perception of would-be participants is that armed protests are unsafe,” she and co-author Timothy Zick, a professor at William & Mary Law School, wrote in The Atlantic. “That finding is crucial to understanding the potentially devastating effect that bringing guns to protests can have on the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

A monument in a parkVeterans of the Global War on Terrorism are honored in peaceful Crandall Park in Glens Falls where a monument has been erected with beautiful landscaping and newly refurbished benches installed with funds donated by the Global War on Terrorism Monument Organization, a 501c3, under the leadership of Co-Director Belinda Cole, who is also a life member of the Adirondack VFW Post 2475 Auxiliary. (Sally Behan)

11TH HOUR OF THE 11TH DAY: Thursday is Veterans’ Day. Until 1954, America called this Armistice Day, in honor of those who fought in World War I. It originated on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the armistice signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, ending the war. It also was considered a holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace. In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, the U.S. Congress — at the urging of veterans’ organizations — struck the word “Armistice” and inserted the word “Veterans.” On Thursday, as we honor American veterans of all wars, there will be fitting parades and commemorations, and thousands of American flags displayed across the fields of Fort William Henry in Lake George.

ROARING TWENTIES: The pandemic essentially wiped out a year of business in the bars and restaurants of New York City, and created a huge social void for people who enjoy gathering over a nice meal or having drinks with friends. The combination of reopened establishments, pent up demand, widespread vaccinations and the fact so many people are still working from home has the city humming like it’s Friday night every night of the week.

WHERE CHAMPIONS TRAINED: The Albany Times Union’s Hudson Valley reporters continue to churn out highly entertaining, informative and often off-beat stories about the region’s history, its quirks and its charms. This week, efforts to revitalize the gym in Catskill where former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson got his start are the hook for a fascinating look back at the region’s rich boxing history, a result of its clean air, slow pace and proximity to New York City, then the center of the boxing universe.

LEADING WITH LOVE: Pete Carroll is a highly successful football coach and has been for decades, leading his collegiate team at USC to two national championships and winning Super Bowl 50 as coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Carroll is a gum-chomping, hand-clapping bundle of energy who looks and acts about 20 years younger than he is. He’s also relentlessly positive, works hard to boost the confidence of his players and helps each see how he contributes individually to the success of the organization. “He calls his approach ‘caring leadership’ and describes it as coming from a place of love,” writes Harvard Business School Professor Ranjay Gulati, who got to know Carroll while preparing a case study about his leadership style. “That’s not a word you would normally identify with a football coach, but if Carroll’s record of success is any indication, it’s one that leaders in the sports world, in business, and beyond should more openly and consistently embrace.”

THE PRICE OF ADMISSION: Actor Tom Hanks this week revealed to late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel that Jeff Bezos invited Hanks to join the flight Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, launched into space last month. But there was a catch: Bezos wanted Hanks to pay $28 million. William Shatner went instead. And before you ask, we have no idea if he paid.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK: You’ve just messed up, and you can’t stop beating yourself up. You’re convinced others will judge you, look down on you. Here’s the reality — they probably will not. Behavioral researchers consistently find that when asking for help or admitting a mistake, people perceive their own displays of vulnerability more negatively than others did. The key to overcoming these feelings sounds simple but takes work — it’s treating yourself with the same kindness you routinely show to others.

NO LOVE FOR VALENTINE: Former New York Mets and Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine lost his bid to become mayor of Stamford, Conn., and if you expected him to bow out gracefully, you obviously haven’t followed his career. “It makes my stomach turn to think that in our city, that they’re actually telling me now, ‘Oh, someone voted in person and they forgot they voted absentee,’ ” Valentine told supporters. “They,” of course, were not identified.

DAZED AND CONFUSED: We got a little carried away with our item on Woodstock homes last week. We called Woodstock, N.Y., “home to arguably the greatest collection of musical talent ever to share a festival stage, an iconic event in pop culture and a symbol of the free love ’60s.” Well, that’s bloody well wrong, a well-informed reader advised: “The Woodstock Festival took place in August 1969 in Bethel, NY on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm. It was the promoter’s second choice. The first choice was the village of Woodstock, but their officials would not permit it. Nevertheless, the Woodstock name has stuck to the event to this day. Today the site is a shrine to the faithful. A wonderful concert venue (Bethel Woods) is located close by. A museum celebrating the 1969 music festival is part of the site. The village of Woodstock is 70 miles from Bethel in another county (Ulster). Bethel is in Sullivan County.” Consider the (33 rpm) record corrected.

LIVES

JERRY REMY was a Boston baseball icon, a local boy who made it to the Red Sox and never really left. An excellent defensive second baseman, he made the American League All-Star team in 1978, his first season with the Red Sox. He went on to play six more seasons in Boston before a knee injury ended his career, then spent 34 years as a popular broadcast analyst, waging a very public battle against the cancer that eventually would take his life at 68.

PAUL “KAHENTASE” THOMPSON served four terms as tribal chief of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe of northern New York, leading the construction and licensing of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort and negotiating exclusive gaming rights for the Tribe in the North Country. A longtime ironworker, he also was instrumental in forging a deal to allow the Tribe to expand its reservation by buying property from willing sellers, settling a long land dispute. His age and cause of death were not reported.

COLIN POWELL did in death what so few contemporary leaders can do in life: He united Washington. At his funeral Friday, there were three presidents and scores of former diplomats and military leaders. He was eulogized by someone with whom he regularly disagreed.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

A tweet of a pitcher and his dad on the field after winning the World Series, holding a trophy

HOMETOWN HERO: Ian Anderson, the 23-year-old pitcher from Clifton Park, N.Y., is a big reason the Atlanta Braves are World Series champions. His five hitless innings against the Houston Astros in Game 3 stopped any sense of momentum the Astros may have felt after their Game 2 victory. As you might expect, an awful lot of people are very proud today, including his father, Bob, with whom he shared an on-field moment with the World Series Trophy.

THE SIGNOFF

FORTUNE’S FAVORS: A 65-year-old Maryland retiree bought a couple of scratch-off tickets from the Maryland Lottery at his local gas station and got to scratching. $100 prize. All right. Next ticket. A Gold Bar. He knew that meant a $2 million prize was coming his way. He knew because he’d won $2 million the same way three years earlier.

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, John Brodt, Troy Burns, Gary Spielmann, Skip Dickstein, Claire P. Tuttle, Kelly Donahue, and Katie Alessi.

FACING OUT is what we do. We help companies, organizations and individuals work effectively with their most important external audiences – their customers, their shareholders, their communities, the government and the news media.  www.behancommunications.com

Facing Out features news and other nuggets that caught our eye, and that we thought might be of value to you, our friends and business associates. Some items are good news about our clients and friends, others are stories that we hope will leave you a bit more informed or entertained than you were five minutes ago. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. 

Let’s make it a conversationmark.behan@behancom.com

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