Monday, June 27, 2005

Freefall into "Freakonomics" Thanks for the T-Shirt(s)!

Special qualityg says thanks to Lynn Grady and Michael Barrs (I promised Michael I would take a picture & post) for the Freaky Tees. They were kind enough to send qualityg TWO shirts, one that fits just over my head and the other that fits to my butt. I guess they thought I was a Twin!

qualityg will wear one of them proudly!

Lynn & Michael work at HarperCollinsPublishers and are associated with:

Stephen and Steven


No Conformist Knowledge Here, This Book is the “Real Thing”

qualityg reads a number of books at the same time, depends what chair I’m sitting in because I usually have a different book (i.e., His Excellency, Left Behind Series, Alexander Hamilton, Text Books and Freakonomics) by each of my favorite chairs (exception – Deming books which I carry in my brief bag).

The one that has exploded some new thoughts is “Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. It’s one of those books that I read in two sittings. Having always been intrigued with economist and their ability to predict the stock market and economy like an average weatherman, this book and authors comes from a completely new angle and wit that captures your interest and clears your senses of all the muddle that is usually found in books about Economics. You know qualityg loves a creative rogue.

Don’t get me wrong about Economist, my son is studying to be one now and is making great strides in school and work because he has a passion for studying data and making sense of what it all that stuff means. I also bought a copy for him and he loves the book too! Imagine father and son liking the same kind of book.

On page 120 the authors give a number of explanations as to why crime has dropped. The reader is asked to pick the ones (I chose three) that have merit; only three are truly factors (qg got one). You will have to buy the book to understand the reasoning.

Important Note: I hope that every city official in the United States reads Chapter 4 “Where Have All the Criminals Gone?” Please do NOT cut any more police from your budget!

For more information about Freakonomics please visit the following site:

More books by Stephen Dubner @
Also see qualityg's recommendation to read "Confessions of A Hero-Workshiper" posted on Sunday June 5th.

Education – McDonald’s “McDees deserves McAaas”

McDonald’s is truly an American Icon, while it somehow is able to stay status quo in it’s history, it continues to reinvent itself to keep up with Middle America expectations when it comes to food selections and what is needed in the community they serve.

The jobs at McDonald’s are mostly dead end and low paying for high school students. To seniors, its added income, a place to meet new friends and provide value to a generation that honors all work as golden if it’s done with pride and integrity.

McDonald’s does have a good career path for the young, but it comes with some sacrifice, some schooling and patience to learn all the facets of being a manager or a franchise owner.

Following is a story of what two McDonald’s storeowners are doing for their working students; other storeowners should replicate this process for success and retention of workers:

Working students punch in, do homework
Livingston County McDonald's owners will allow employees to start their shift with studies.
By Steve Pardo / The Detroit News

GENOA TOWNSHIP -- Students employed by McDonald's owners Kathy and Jerry Olinik will be able to tackle French before french fries or calculus before Chicken Selects. The husband and wife duo, who own two McDonald's restaurants in Livingston County, will pay their high school employees to do their homework starting this fall.

It's an idea the pair came up with in the 1990s when they still worked for McDonald's Corp., said Jerry Olinik, 49.

"During those years, a lot of parents didn't want their kids working," he said. "Economic times were very good and parents, rightly so, wanted their kid to concentrate on homework and school. We thought there might be a happy medium there someplace."

Now that they own restaurants, they thought it was time to rekindle the idea.

Students will be able to punch in and sit down with their studies for an hour either before or after their work shift. Jerry Olinik estimates the two restaurants employ 30 high school students, including Jennifer Johnson, 17, who will be a senior at Howell High School this fall.
"I have trouble right now trying to keep up with school and work a job," Johnson said. "This will be a really good opportunity to do schoolwork before work."

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Misc - Providing Blog Comments

Many have sent me Emails stating you did not want to leave a comment because it looks like you have to register for a Blog.

You "can" leave comments without registering, just enter anonymous/name , comment, click preview comment and send comment.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Leadership - Are You and Your Company Gym Fighters?


Attended another local fight card Friday night with my son and brother. We had ringside seats compliments of one our local mayor’s.

Most of the fights were competitive but there was one that was just plain boring. I turned to my son and brother and told them “Gym Fighters.” Why are they labeled gym fighters, because of too much cooperation?

Gym Fighters are two boxers from the same club who "only" know each other’s style and don’t really want to show each other up so they go out and box without really trying to win. A “Solo Gym Fighter is one of the best boxer’s in your gym but can’t seem to win any fights outside of the home gym because he concentrates too much on internal competition.

Years ago I tried to explain the concept of “cooperation before competition” as it applies to the business world. Most things in life go wrong because the balance is off too much too one side. As they say “too much of good thing can be a bad thing.”

If your employees are concentrating on battling each other because of ratings and rankings you have destroyed cooperation. If your company functional department heads battle each other over year-end bonuses you have destroyed cooperation.

One VP responded to my comments by telling me that his troops need to be battle ready and if it takes beating the hell out of each other to get in shape, that is what needs to be done. Thanks for the feedback Comrade Stalin.

When you have too much internal competition everyone takes their eye off the target and is “beating the hell out of each other instead of the competition, your competitors. The company has implemented a system with no aim and it won’t allow the employees to compete because they don’t know how and they don’t know who the enemy is; the system has set up their co-workers as the enemy because of the numerical games and goals that are inherent in the system set up by management.

Cooperation is a pre-requisite before competition can take place. Do you want to win the fight or would you rather help your “Team” win the tournament? Chances of you winning your fight increases if you are a good teammate and help your team win the Trophy.

When too much internal competition is allowed to exist in your company or in the boxing ring you will only learn to beat the style of the person sitting next to you, and you will hurt the teams overall effort. By understanding your opponents weaknesses by getting out in the market or watching your competition fight you take that back and move your team in the direction to win, everyone needs to be on the same page striving for the same goals. If the leaders of the company or the gym have no aim or purpose then you might win a few fights, but you will never win the prize.

Team Trophy & Individual Trophy

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Misc - Down on the CornerSITE - updated 06/18/05 - "Excellent Reference Site from RB!

qualityg says…

I am devoting this Misc section of my Blog to recommend some information sites that are considered classics by the “qualityg says …” readers, and some that I believe will help a wide range of folks.

1) - may display your personal info!! – I put mine and my brother’s in (full name, middle initial and state) and behold it came back with our information. To drop your name from the list you must Email Zaba at Special Thanks to Mike Wendland (Detroit Free Press). Flash – while writing this blog I just received a “long” Email back from Zaba the Hut telling me what else I need to do to remove my info, I replied back not so nicely and the next Email is going to the Michigan State Attorney General – Mike Cox. Make sure you click on “terms” – before you send Email, this will tell you what to send them. It also supplies a link to other sites that may include your personal information.

2) - It’s a search engine that combines a dictionary, encyclopedia and thesaurus in one.

3) - Since I promote much of Mike Wendland’s column I wanted to post it here for your PC and Tech information. This is one great site for help and getting the latest up to date information on new products. Mike tests many of the products before recommending. For those of you not in Michigan, and may not be familiar with Mike’s column in the Detroit Free Press, I urge to take a look and bookmark.

4) - Great site for interesting articles, debates between bloggers and links to other blog sites. If you're new to blogging there are a number of ideas and examples to help get you started.

5) - I would be remiss to not mention this movie since it is considered by qualityg’s PTM Gang to be the best movie about “Office Politics” and crazy employees (like us). Ten times better than the new show on NBC – “The Starter.” You will be surprised at some of the stars from other shows that are in this movie (i.e., Friends, Drew Carey, West Wing, etc). Often shown on the Bravo cable network.

5) - The ultimate site for the teachings of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

6) - Great site for the experienced angler and those just starting out fishing. Put in your Zip Code and find the best places to fish in your area. Print free instructions on how to catch and clean fish, and sign up for a newsletter. Not sure the best place to go in another state? It's a click away that links you to rentals, boat ramps, marinas and more.

10 1/2 lb Walleye , caught by Mike P - April 2005, picture by Mike D.

7) - This is a great site for creativity and illustration and art. It's also what I call a person who hates four letter words like "Can't and Quit." Here is a man that in high school received an "F" for a self-portrait. His art work was never displayed on the hallways like the other kids. Through discouragement by many, including his parents he still had the fortitude to live his dream and bring happiness to many others. He also has a show on the discovery channel.

8) - Great site (Michigan Elibrary) for everyone, especially those of us living in Michigan. Provides information and practice test for many state civil service jobs, professional exams (fire and police), School -- > GED, SAT, and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) prperation tests. You will need your Michigan Drivers License Number to Log In.

9) - Blog site for Steve Levitt and Stephen Dunbar co-authors of the best seller (highly recommended by qg) - "Freakonomics." No telling what subject will be covered (i.e., If you like baby names, you will love this, We'd like to put some Freak into the game of poker and Why the Black Sox? ).

10) - I frequent this site often to read tales about grades in school. The author being a writing professor adds to the posts with a unique and entertaining style. While you all know that qualityg does not like grades, this site helps with my assumptions. Read about ridiculous parents and non-supporting administrators (and you know how I feel about those SOBs).

11) - RB --> sent me this site, all the major search engines on one page, reference facts and sites, history, etc....

Education - "We'll Be Watching You" updated 6/14/05 -"A Nation at Risk"

qualityg says… he likes what “Sting” says too…

Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
We'll be watching you

Yep, the more people I talk to or send me Emails want to know why I’m always hounding the education system. Because like most systems it often takes people from the outside (I don’t just mean consultants) to give a new perspective. Fear, bureaucracy, protectionism, etc… bury those who work on the inside.

For years I attended open houses at my kids schools, and now I listen to them telling me what their college advisors tell them what is best and instructors who change the rules as the course progresses through the semester.

One had a math teacher in high school that constantly failed over 60% of her class. I asked her what she does when 70–80% percent of the students get a problem wrong on a test? She responded "they can see me after class and I will explain the problem to the student." I replied, "would you ever consider throwing that question out since it seems the majority got it wrong?" Perhaps in cases like this a teacher/instructor should ask whose fault is it that the students did not learn?

A friend’s daughter struggles with Math at Michigan State, when I asked what she thought the problem was, she replied my instructors have such an accent I can’t understand what they are saying. They usually have a grad student that will set up times to meet outside of class, but when I go the lines are a mile long. Why don't parents challenge the school, after all are they not losing money? Oh, it's probably the kids fault, it's easier to threaten them instead of challenging a great institution.

qg says... Students must speak up in one voice for the good of all and get these teachers removed from instruction, move them to research, move them out the door, you deserve to be taught in the language of your country. If you can't get the school to move them, then stand up in class, be humble, be polite and ask the instructor to "repeat" what you need to know, repeat again until you are understood. Tape the instructor and take it to the Dean and demand a passing grade and your money back. By doing nothing means you approve, then you must expalin to your parents why you are failing. Who are they going to believe??

Math and Science are an on-going problem in our education system today. Just this past weekend there was a headline and article that said…

Math scores worry educators


Michigan's flat math scores on the MEAP test have educators nervous, as expectations are to rise this year and more schools could fail to meet state and federal academic goals.

Elementary and middle school MEAP scores released Friday by the Michigan Department of Education show no increase in math test scores for fourth-graders and a slight decline for eighth-graders.

"I'm concerned about the fact that the math scores have not gone up," said Jeremy Hughes, interim state superintendent. "I'm concerned we may see more schools not making it in mathematics."

The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires that Michigan use the MEAP scores to determine whether schools have met adequate yearly progress in reading and math, which for three years has meant that 47 percent of students had to pass the math test. The standard rises to 56 percent this year.

qualityg says... does anyone care that teaching by tests is like managing a company by using the bottom line numbers! Folks -- these are "result" measures, they are after the fact that have no associated "process" measures that will tell you if there is a problem in the process. If you don't have these measures aligned all you will end up doing is moving targets and implementing more standards. I want to know where are all the Statisticians have gone, wake up boys and girls with your software and numbers and get in the game and debunk this crap.

In reading, the standard has been 38 percent; it rises to 49 percent this year. Statewide, scores rose in both fourth and seventh grades.

The bar will keep increasing every three years until the 2013-14 school year, when 100 percent of students must pass both subjects.

Schools that don't meet the standard face penalties that grow more severe each year. The sanctions can be as simple as requiring schools to offer tutoring for struggling students and as drastic as replacing school staff.

It may be too soon to predict whether the flat math scores, and lack of significant improvement in other subjects, will mean more schools face sanctions, said Hughes and other education experts. His department will release school report cards, which indicate whether the standards have been met, in August.

But eventually, most schools will have trouble meeting the goals, especially as the standard gets close to 100 percent."

It's not a question of if you won't make it at some point. It's when," said Bill Hamilton, assistant superintendent for K-12 instruction in Walled Lake Consolidated Schools.

His district's scores were well above the state average across the board, a result of a years-long effort to ensure curriculum is consistent and clear across the district.

"The bottom line is, teachers do exactly what the name implies. They teach. But if they have direction on what to teach and there's consistency, kids are going to do better," Hamilton said.

In Detroit Public Schools, the state's largest school district, reading scores rose, as did math at the eighth-grade level. But there were declines in other areas, including a slight drop in fourth-grade math.

In L'Anse Creuse Public Schools, administrators were pleased that scores went up in math and in English language arts, a combination of the reading and writing tests. Assistant Superintendent Keith Wunderlich said the district is in good shape for conquering academic goals."We're beating the mark for 2012," Wunderlich said Friday. "We're well above what the state expectations are. qualityg... - By what method do you know this to be true?

"This year's writing scores -- which dropped for fourth-graders but increased among seventh-graders -- also drew attention because the state recalculated the scores, lowering the passing rate because the scores took a sharp nosedive from last year.

The state adjusted the passing rate for the writing test after getting many complaints from local educators about low scores. Hughes said the writing scores statewide dropped between 10 percentage points and 20 percentage points.

"The differences in scores were not the result of differences in students' ability, but in the difficulty of the test. We made an adjustment in the passing score to make it equal to the difficulty of the test," Hughes said.

David Plank, co director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, said it's a common testing practice to "recalibrate your standard when you discover that no one is meeting it."


MEAP scores

To see how your school fared on the MEAP, go online to

Copyright© 2005 Detroit Free Press Inc.

qualityg says…

I don’t know the exact goals that were set, but if the goals are beyond the means of the schools to achieve I see nothing but frustration, confusion, finger pointing and tampering of the system by those who need to obtain the target. I feel for those teachers and students who are losing their joy of teaching and joy of learning.

Working in corporate America for many years and given countless targets, goals, objectives, etc, I learned that numerical goals (including date related) really don’t matter unless they are accompanied by a method on how to obtain them. Once upper management sets them (without planning or obtaining up front data/information) it becomes a sprint to see how fast the numbers can be obtained as they are delegated down to unsuspecting work groups or project teams. What ultimately happens when fear is created the worker(s) will eventually figure out how to meet the number by changing the rules, exceed the number by sub-optimizing another part of the system/process, or distort that “bad boy” so bad that no one can figure out what is going on! At least that’s what Enron and MCI thought. I might start adding the State Education Board to this ship of fools.

I’m troubled that I see no “method” by which the schools are trying to obtain the goals (seems like everyone is on their own), if “L’Anse Creuse Public Schools have created a methods that works, then benchmarking/sharing should take place for replication (watch out for NIH – not invented here).

Now, when I read words like, fail, no increase, slight decline, concerned (multiple times), 100% must pass, to soon to predict, trouble, and my favorite – recalibrate, I begin to start questioning does anyone know what the heck is going on?

This is no different that in many of today’s organizations that manage by results. If it’s to soon to predict like the article mentions, then how will we know if the schools will fail, how can you make statements like that? Thats right, at the end of course when it's too late for recovery.

“Schools that don't meet the standard face penalties that grow more severe each year. The sanctions can be as simple as requiring schools to offer tutoring for struggling students and as drastic as replacing school staff.” What kind of crap is this? It’s more important to attack the processes (not people) that are not adequate to determine where the problem(s) are beginning, not the schools that are doing there best to succeed. I got it! School Staff gets up every morning and on their way to work dream up ways to fail.

With all the focus constantly on test results I'm concerned about children losing their creativity, innovation and having fun while they learn. The result of trying to hit moving targets is the elimination of the arts, music, field trips and physical education (we maybe can pass a test, but we can't run home and tell Mom because were to obese) If you haver never seen the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus," please do, if yes, rewatch it!

Let me ask some questions, how does the Michigan Department of Education know that many schools are bound to fail?

By what means of measurement are they using? I would like to know what the education board’s definition of a “stable” standards process?

Is it when all schools have met the goal? I have always been taught that unless your process is stable you cannot predict any outcomes, nor can you determine if your process is “capable” of meeting the goals. When you start comparing scores year-to-year, month-to-month or day-to-day and some go up and some go down that is called “Variation (i.e., no two teachers or no two students will “ever” be exactly alike).

I learned from a very wise man (Dr. W. Edwards Deming - that when you’re dealing with statistics it’s best to be trained by a master, if not more damage can be done. Not falling into that category (I consider myself an applicationist) I would suggest Mr. David Plank co director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University contact an expert from their Statistics Department (preferably a theoretical statistician). Please ask that person to explain Dr. Deming’s Funnel Experiment before you continue to recalibrate a system that sounds like it is out of control.

updated 5/22/05

Teachers flee Michigan to find jobs
School openings are sparse here, so new graduates are forced to head south, west.
Graduates of teaching colleges such as Michigan State, Oakland and Eastern Michigan universities are entering a job market squeezed by a tight state economy, stagnant population growth and teacher layoffs, prompting officials at those schools to advise their graduates to consider moving to states like Florida, California and North Carolina where teaching jobs are plentiful.
qualityg says... This is a problem in the area of "creativity & innovation," schools need fresh ideas to merge with the best of the experienced ideas.

updated 5/31/05
U.S. children left behind
When tests drive curriculum, no one masters anything
May 31, 2005

qualityg says... can't add a thing, a "great" article - please read @

updated 6/05/05

Michigan has the beauty, but it increasingly needs the brains

qualityg likes this guy. Mr. Finley consistently writes an excellent column challenging conventional wisdom. The following is another one about education that took place at the glorious and luxurious Mackinac Island - "Grand Hotel."

A few highlights:
Just 23 percent of Michigan residents hold a college degree, compared with nearly 40 percent for the top-ranking states. That number is not from a survey, it's a fact.

Also indisputable is that the states with the most highly educated residents have the lowest unemployment. Michigan, which ranks 39th of 50 states in educational attainment, according to an Indiana University study, has the nation's second highest unemployment rate. You don't need a college degree to connect those dots.

The Alliance for Excellence education advocacy group predicts that 25 percent of Michigan's current eighth-graders are at risk of not graduating from high school.

qualityg says... How many dollars are used to support this conference? Since we are in such difficult financial times perhaps the meeting could have been held in a less lavish place. However, maybe someone is planning on leaving the Ferry Boats inland and leaving our Politicians on the Island.

Don't worry unemployment is not bad on the island this time of year, besides they are all smart people, they could get jobs in "Fertilizing and Alternative Methods in Saving Fuel."

For those outside of Michigan, Mackinac Island is a wonderful vacation spot located in Northern Michigan. No cars are allowed and you must travel by Ferry Boat to reach the Island. The main source of transportation on the island is bikes, walking and horse drawn buggies. Now there should be no shortage of help to pick up the poop. Who says we don't have brains?
updated 6/14/05
Our Nation is at Risk

Our Nation is at Risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur--others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments.
qualityg says... Will We Lose Another Generation?
Children born today can expect to graduate from high school in the year 2000. We dedicate our report (Nation at Risk) not only to these children, but also to those now in school and others to come. We firmly believe that a movement of America's schools in the direction called for by our recommendations will prepare these children for far more effective lives in a far stronger America.
The complete story can be found at:
This was written in 1983!! This report gave findings to legislators about when to start school among other recommendations.

The following article was written 6/14/05:
When to start kindergartenLegislators,
expert’s debate moving back birthday cutoff

qualityg says... Both reports stress the need for additional "Standardized Testing." Wake up Educators and Legislators, those tests are results oriented (snapshots). We need trend results (on-going movie) that tell the whole story about the student. Assessments of individuals cannot be bundled.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Customer - Dear Kroger Management - "You own the System"

I wanted to share the following Email with you, an example of why Management owns the System in which “willing workers” try to do their best.

Dear Kroger Management
Customer Comments
Your satisfaction is our number one priority. We welcome your comments, questionsand suggestions.

On Friday June 3rd, 2005 I visited my local Kroger store to do my weekly grocery shopping at 8:00 am (EST). As I approached the parking lot I saw about 30-40 more cars than usual. As I walked closer to the store I saw a great amount of activity taking place within the store. Once I got my cart I walked pass the register lines I noticed one of my favorite local Kroger employee’s hanging her head as to not make eye contact (there was no one in line).

I found this odd because it’s usually a ritual to say good morning and then see her in 20 minutes once I’m done shopping. Once I turned up the first aisle I saw a host of people with carts and arms full moving stock from one side to the other and from aisle to aisle with “ant” like agility.

I put the usual bread in my cart and proceeded to dodge strangers (Kroger employees, I think) with happy go lucky faces. The few local employees looked confused and did what they were told. While I waited for the fifth time for an opening to open so I could move I stood and stared at the cluster*#$* taking place before my eyes.

I guess most of the people thought I was just another mover because they didn’t hear my comments “Where is the pizza sauce? How about the gato-aide, it used to be in this aisle?” Getting stuck again by a line of carpenter ants I decided this was enough for me and I headed toward the exit leaving my cart "Horizontally" across the aisle as to join in the fun.

Some Queen Ant behind me yelled “Hey, you can’t leave that cart there like that,” At first I thought about grabbing a can of outdoor bug fogger and giving the store a blast but it was to early to get in trouble. As I passed back towards the exit I yelled out to my local Kroger employee and told her I was headed to Farmer Jack’s, she quickly put her head back down and waited for a customer to get in line.

Driving to Farmer Jack’s I was started to think I would change stores, but that would not be fair to the local store who has some very good employees and management team in place. Sure they could make some process improvement but I like to give my business where I live whenever I can. Besides, “Management owns the System.”

When I returned to Kroger’s on Friday June 10th I found many changes throughout the store, this type of change doesn’t bother me since I have a decent memory for remembering this kind of stuff. There sure were a number of huffs and puffs as people left there carts and backtracked to make sure they had not forgotten anything in a previous aisle. The signs hanging from the ceiling were pretty accurate but the signs on the side of the aisle were old. I only had one problem and I stopped one of the ”special” Kroger employees (qg likes companies that employ special folks) where did the kool-aide now reside. He thought aisle 13 because it was no longer with juice it had been moved to the pop section.

While checking out I asked how bad was the week, her face told it all and she said she they were all learning the changes along with the customers. Unfortunately, she and other customer facing employees have been taking the brunt of customer dissatisfaction.

Well – the local store employees (including management) don’t deserve the complaints, you do management, remember you own the system, they are just “willing workers” trying to do a good job.

Here are a “few” qualityg suggestions:

  • Do the work during non-store hours (the local store is 7am – 10pm).
  • How about the previous two weeks prior to the move you put a flyer with the bill informing the customers of when you will be changing the store, why you are changing the store and a number where to call if you have additional questions that can’t be answered at the local store.
  • How about providing a local training/communications with your local store employees, surely you have a layout of what you plan on doing, don’t you?
  • Come on provide some additional hours for local employees or have some of the “ants” stick around for a few weeks and work the aisles providing customers with assistance as to the changes, perhaps some free goodies and drinks too.
  • I know the signs are hanging high but put some posters or easels at the end of the aisles as to where the items have been moved, better yet, have a greeter pass out a flyer as a customer comes through the door with a picture of the new floor plan, include a $5.00 discount on the flyer.
  • "Special" Kroger employee was correct, the kool-aide was in aisle 13, please give him a raise!

    Please thank your local store employees for saving me as a customer.



Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sears + Kmart = "smearK" Every Picture Tells A Story Don't It!

qualityg says…


This section will show pictures without much explanation, the pictures should tell it all.

All pictures were taken on Friday April 29, 2005 @ 9:30 am
All stores were open and ready for business
Two of the companies (see stock price just merged and are now laying off thousands of employees - see stories:

They are all located kiddy corner to one another @ a busy cross street (I did not show the Meijers store, also across from Kracked Mart)



updated 6/6/05

Sears, Kmart Start to Combine Brand Business
Sears, Kmart Start to Combine Brands As New Firm Takes Shape

qualityg says... - how about a new name "smearK"

NORRIDGE, Ill. (AP) -- Martha Stewart, meet Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances.
The home doyenne has some new brand neighbors in the aisles of select Kmart stores -- and likely Sears stores too at some point. Sears Holdings Corp., which reports quarterly results for the first time this week, hopes the emerging partnership can breathe new life into two faded retail behemoths under its 10-week-old ownership.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Misc - Confessions --> Book Reading - by Dubner & Book Signing - by Deming

Confessions of A Hero-Worshiper

By Stephen J. Dubner

Many of you might not know who Stephen J. Dubner is but I bet you have seen his name along with another guy named Steve D. Levitt. They are the co-authors of the best selling book “Freakonomics.” A number of you have purchased the book since I recommended it in May

While Steven Levitt is well known in the Economics Circles, Stephen Dubner is best known for his articles and two other books “Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son’s Return to his Jewish Family,” and Confessions of A Hero-Worshiper.”

An interesting pairing, I have always been intrigued by “the other guy.” You know, guys like Bud Abbott, Oliver Hardy and Larry Fine. And since I enjoyed the book so much I wanted to learn more about the authors. I have known about Steven Levitt but not "the other guy" - Stephen Dunbar.

I finished reading Confessions of A Hero-Worshiper last Thursday. While wanting to tell you how much I enjoyed the book and highly recommend that you read it I’m having difficulty pinning down exactly what I liked best.

It could be the book was such a change a pace of my normal readings that I welcomed a heart warming true story from am author who bares his soul to the reader. While I never had a Hero Worship to the extent of Stephen, I found myself amazed at the extent and patience the author had with Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers Fame in writing this book (if you’re a fan of the Steelers and in particular Franco Harris this is a “must” read).

It wasn’t until page 234 at the end of Chapter 16, that I found what the book was trying to tell me the reader and perhaps ultimately the author:

“But I had been wrong. No book could ever accomplish such a thing. No book, as hard and bloody as it might be, was suitable sacrifice. It would take a riskier, more painful project to fulfill my offering; fatherhood.”

I always try and determine the aim/purpose of the book I am reading; somehow I think Stephen wrote this book for himself. I’m sure glad he did I was glad to be along for the ride.

Whenever I read a book I often illustrate it by highlighting passages and writing my comments all over the pages. I then tear small pieces of paper or miniature post-its and put them between the pages so that I can come back later to the page if I want to remember an important thought. By the time I’m done the book is usually inches thicker.

"Confession of a Book Signing"
by qualityg
I remember the first time I met Dr. Deming at one of his seminars. He graciously would sit at break and sign his book “Out of the Crisis” for the attendees. Needless to say after four days of taking notes and highlighting numerous pages I waited in line where eventually I would approach the podium where he sat. I will always remember the person in line in front of me making the comment “Are you going to ask him to sign that.? you destroyed his book! I don’t usually care what other people think, let alone some pimple faced MBA Hot Shot from General Motors but I was somewhat ashamed that I should have revered the book with more consideration. I just couldn’t stop capturing his every word.

As I approached him I was preparing to get scolded as he had done to many for asking silly questions over the past four days. As I handed him the book he looked over the book and smiled, I just looked straight ahead (I had not done that since I was in front of my drill sergeant), eventually he said, “What’s your name,” Greg I replied. “Well Greg, I like a person who uses my book as a tool, well done.” That was it, he signed the book with my name in it and it sits even more marked as before since I have read the book many times.

After that encounter I was fortunate to be able to speak, listen and learn from Dr. Deming on a number of other occasions.

While I have multiple copies of “Out of the Crisis” and “The New Economics” I have always wanted a first edition and printing of each. Last week I ordered them from PTurner Books.

Thanks to Dr. Joyce Orsini and Patricia Turner for answering my Emails so that I can add these books to my Quality Library.