Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Afternoon

When do you plan on buying a Tesla?

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What is with drivers these days? One, there have been more road deaths this year than any year in history. Two, drivers are driving slower than ever in the fast lane and don’t even care and third, why do drivers constantly put their brakes on when there is no reason to? I remember when driving used to be fun and let’s not even talk about all the worthless construction taking place.

Take one look at Michigan State University, my alma matter, and you want to throw up. First the dean of the business school gets fired and now President Stanley is in the hot seat. Most likely he needs to go but what about the board of trustees who operate the university like their political football. The fact the board wanted only democrat suppliers to sell to the university was so unscrupulous and so deceitful, it is best we re-elect a whole new board. And how is it MSU has record freshman enrollment and a four-year degree now costs north of $100K? Thank the federal government guaranteeing student debt, another debacle. And football? F—k the fans, it is all about the $$$. Why else would MSU play a high school team at 4:00PM and U-M play another high school team that lasts past midnight.

Inflation? Recession? We were up north last weekend and there certainly is no recession up there or any worries about inflation. And this being after the holiday weekend. I travel a lot but I have never seen so many people traveling as much as now. Point in fact. Delta flies to Vegas from Detroit 5-6 times a day and fares started in the $300 range. Now fares are well over $500 and even $700 and the planes are still sold out. Going to Mexico is now double what it used to be.

Want to beat Alzheimer’s? Walk at least 30 minutes a day and you will decrease your odds of getting it by 50%. Want to beat the Detroit Lions? Just show up at Ford Field or wherever else they play.

Is there anyone more famous or in the news than Elon Musk? He is worth $275M and going past $300M very quickly. Tesla makes both Ford and GM irrelevant in market value (TSLA worth about $900B, while both Ford and GM worth about $59B each). Then again, would you want to be Elon Musk?

Good news is that container costs are coming down. Last year about this time they were more than $25K and now running about $16-$18K. Bad news is that Biden is still playing politics when it comes to Chinese tariffs. And all fingers and toes crossed there is no rail strike. More than 26% of all goods are shipped by rail and the strike would be devastating. Worse, bulk food is shipped by rail which would be increase food inflation even more than 11.5%.

Some ask if I miss our printed catalog and I have to say the answer is yes. It was always a big deal and joy when the latest version came out. But alas, with pricing so volatile and TNG constantly updating its inventory mix, the electronic version is my best friend. So user friendly and always up-to-date!

ULTA keeps blowing away the competition. Last quarter was their best one ever, record sales and profits. Thank God for beauty, right! Like travel, consumers can’t get enough beauty products after the pandemic and it sure beats looking at luscious lips than face masks!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

Are you a Costco or Sam's Club Member?

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Another birthday, another year coming up. This year I’m going to celebrate big time and stay up until 10:00PM both Friday and Saturday night! The festivities start Friday with Starbuck’s morning for all TNG talent and then a fab lunch at our corporate headquarters. Saturday the dreadful drive to East Lansing to see the Spartans play Purdue which just clobbered the Buckeyes. After last weeks disastrous loss to the Wolverines along with exiting the stadium for an hour only to endure rain, sleet and wind, is it any wonder Spartan Nation is hurting? Coach Dantonio, how about a V this week and next for my birthday?

My birthday continues on Sunday when I do not have to make brunch or dinner, sorry BUB! And then the real fun is Tuesday when we go to see Stevie Nicks at LCA. Now let me tell you, seeing a concert on a Tuesday night is a big deal especially when I go to sleep at 8:30PM and that is when the music starts playing. Like I said, this is celebrating at the highest level!

Remember back when you had a birthday, you would open the mail box and there would be 10, perhaps even 20 birthday cards with your name on them? These days, kids under 35 only know your cell number for texting, addresses are long gone. At least I know I can count on MGM sending me a $5 Free Play birthday gift. HA!

Here are a few birthday gifts I would really like to see:

  • Hotels eliminating those tiny 1 oz. bottles. It’s impossible to read which one is shampoo or body wash.
  • OPI shipping an order at least 80% complete and without damages
  • The Spartans winning a football game (oops, I already mentioned that)
  • Bill Knapp’s chocolate cake
  • Carter stopping by Sunday (C is my 6 1/2  year old grandson)
  • Max inviting us to fly in his private jet and stay in his new Palisades Park beach house (the joys of selling a company for $175 million, wait, it goes up $25 million each year!) stocked with great red wine and single malts.
  • Tony Cuccio running a 5K
  • John Barth retiring and writing a book “How to be  rep and live the good life without working”
  • Elimination of passwords with 8 letters, upper case, lower case, number and !@$# character.

TNG did it again and was the #1 sponsor for American Cancer Society Strides event in Detroit. We raised more than $130,000 and dominated the field. Sorry Kroger, Suburban Collection and Comerica, you need to step up your game!

I have never seen so much Halloween candy at stores as this year. And who eats candy anymore?

What’s better than Costco’s rotisserie chickens? $4.99 and they are huge, tasty and juicy. Costco sells so many of them, they are now building their own chicken farm that will supply at least 25% of their annual needs. Guess how many they sell a year? You weren’t even close, more than 60 million. They lose about $.75 on everyone they sell which has fed their sales and profit growth over the years. Love that.

Happy Wednesday!

MSU Wins Big And I’m Not Talking Sports

What is your favorite 4th of July food?

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I don’t get the concept of high school graduation parties. When I graduated high school, we went to Cobo Hall to get our diploma and then we stopped at a Dairy Queen. Since it was a special time I got to upgrade to a Peanut Buster instead of a medium cone. That was the extent of my party. And other than attending a high school reunion, does anyone really visit their high school 10, 20 or 30 years later?

Now college is an entire different animal. Don’t ask me why but after spending four years at a college not only are you an alumni for life, you might even wear your college clothing; buy a license plate with your college logo; and attend sporting events with friends, family and eventually, your grand kids whom you constantly talk them into going to your college. I have one thought on the subject: It’s your first time out of the house and being somewhat independent. Another thought: Colleges do the best damn job ingraining their culture into your brain once you set foot on campus.

Just think about it. Campus. Who made up that word? Mascots. Who made up that word? Cheer leaders. Marching band. Union. Dorms. Cafeteria. Fight song. Fraternities and sororities. All-nighters. Courses. All these words conjure college life that for four years you live and breathe until you graduate. But even once you graduate, the Alumni Association keeps tabs on you and over time you are drawn back in.

Both MSU and that other school in Ann Arbor have more than 500,000 alumni. We all know about the rivalries when it comes to sports. We live and breathe for a V against the other team to secure bragging rights for the year. When your team plays, it’s like you are on the team and cheer so loud when the team wins and whine so loud when the team loses. Believe me this is a master plan college presidents came up with way back then. And it still works.

How do you I know? I’ve been a Spartan for more than 40 years and that is long frigging time. Yes I go to football games and yes I know we have not won a national championship since 1966 and certainly we are not going to win one this year. But in the scheme of things, what colleges have really done well is fund-raising. Endowments, stadiums, buildings, general fund, sports and just about anything else you can think of.

So when the Dean of the business school, Dean Gupta, asked about helping them fund a new building called the Pavilion, specifically the new Entrepreneurial Lab, I had to stop and think about it. And while I was thinking about it I got invited to his suite at Spartan Stadium, I got invited to Cowles House for brunch, I got to see and even teach an entrepreneurial class. Oh yes, there is nothing more gripping than the tentacles of a college seeking funds.

All sarcasm set aside, the more I thought about it and consulted with the BUB, the more it made sense. I couldn’t think of anyone better to be part of the new entrepreneurial program than me. And I also thought the time is right for MSU to kicks U-M’s ass on the academic side, notably the business school. While MSU is ranked in the top 30, U-M Ross has perennially been ranked higher. Now with the new Pavilion and updated course structure, surely MSU is going to leap forward in the rankings. And that my friends is just another reason among many that made our gift to MSU so worthwhile. Plus the fact that Dean Gupta ensured me he will make this happen (OK, he just didn’t tell me when).

To read more about the gift to MSU, click here: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2017/3-million-gift-to-msu-business-pavilion-to-inspire-entrepreneurship/.

Bottom line: Giving back is truly among the best gifts of all. I am very excited for the future of the business program at MSU and we will now be part of the legacy that started way back in 1855.

Happy Monday!

It’s A Good Time to be a MSU Spartan and TNG Rebel

Are the Spartan's going to beat Alabama?

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#3 in Football. #1 in Basketball. On our way to the first New Year Eve game (why would they plan a game on NYE?) vs. Alabama and 9-point dogs. Just the way we like it. It’s a good time to be a MSU Spartan.

But it wasn’t always like this. In fact when I went to State we had some spurts with basketball (Magic Johnson a bit later) but we haven’t won a national championship since 1966 (we have 6 to our credit) so this would be the 50th anniversary if we can pull it off January 11.

On the other hand U-M has won 11 national championships and has the highest winning record in NCAA football. It’s no wonder the state of Michigan has more Wolverine fans and can fill their 110,000+ stadium.

However times are changing. Izzo won the national championship in 2000 and has been in more Final Fours than any other active coach. Dantonio has just as an impressive resume and records are being made left and right. Even ESPN is finally starting to believe in MSU. This is our era and the more we keep on winning the more people in Michigan will be wearing Spartan gear and home games will be sold out regularly.

And nothing in the above tells the entire story how MSU has moved up in the academic rankings and is building a world-class business school on campus and medical program in Grand Rapids that features cutting-edge research.

I was at the B10 Championship game and a record-setting crowd of 66,000+ were there to watch the domination of previous unbeaten Iowa. Their fans came to support them (2 to 1) but in the end, they couldn’t help but to watch the winning 22-play drive demolish their hopes. The Spartans grind teams into submission and then figure out a way to win. It’s all part of Dantonio’s master plan.

So Wolverine fans, now is the time to trash the maize and blue and sport the green and white. The Salvation Army is taking donations all month.

It’s also a fab time to be a TNG Rebel. We are celebrating our 30th year in business  and having the most fun in the company history. As a reader of this blog you already know about our 30/60 Celebration trip to NYC. However this is the year that we collected more than $75,000 for ACS and went well past the $2 million dollar mark on our way to $3 million. Right now we are in the midst of collecting for Forgotten Harvest and donating time at the Baldwin Center.

TNG is one of only 13 companies to win the MI Top Places to Work competition 7 years in a row (since its inception) and we have finished in the top 5 four of the last five years. This is from a field of more than 1500 companies that enter each year.

This weekend is our Annual Meeting, always a great time and the team is super-primed. You can call it our Championship game and the best thing is we don’t have any opponent to beat.

I like to compare life at TNG to life at MSU. Both organizations strive to be the very best and have the best people working for them. We celebrate success and strive to do better each year. And we have great stories to share.

We even have Spartan Day in which our talent can wear MSU gear. I am happy to say that in 2015 we have the highest percentage ever wearing Spartan gear so we are leading the way. Yes, it’s a great time to be both a Spartan and Rebel.

Happy Tuesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

Which shopping experience will you participate in?

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My favorite holiday of the year is finally here! There is nothing better than Thanksgiving. No gifts or religion to worry about. Just food, drink, sports and family. Looks like the perfect morning for the Turkey Trot, hope to see everyone down there at 5:45AM. HA! The Detroit Lions actually have a chance of winning their third TDAY game in a row. But the real star is the TDAY dinner. Personally my favorites are turkey, sweet potatoes and stuffing. Mashed, rolls and cranberry are OK but real stuffers! Dessert? Pumpkin pie.

How about MSU! 5th in Football and 3rd in Basketball. No other college can boast that. If MSU can go on like this for another 20 years, then we will see more Michigander’s wearing green and white than that dreadful maize and blue. Warning: We must beat PSU on Saturday and avoid a tremendous game letdown. We are only favored by 1.5 points so the experts think it will be tight. I’m ready for Indy so let’s blow them away.

It was great to see Max & Essie last weekend in Malibu. Very nice beach homes, very nice weather and very nice restaurants. But nothing beats home cooking and the only thing Essie likes to do better than name polish is to cook. July 2017 they will be free to do it again, I am waiting patiently to see what that may be.

Does it seem like Christmas is only a month away? No way right? As usual the year flew by once Labor Day came and went. Loving this November weather. Sunny and 50 today.

TNG Worldwide is only one of 13 Michigan-based companies to win Best Workplaces 7 years in a row (every year the competition has been held). That includes four top 5 finishes in the past five years. No doubt we have the best talent in the beauty business.

With gas less than $2.00 a gallon are people spending more and are they happier? According to recent polls the answer is no. In fact gas prices ranging from $2 to $3.50 a gallon have little affect on behavior. Losers this holiday season: Apparel especially with the warm weather. Winners include salons and spas, restaurants and travel.

The pro beauty business has been unusually quiet in 2015. Where is the innovation going to come from next?

Got to love that Apple knows your driving patterns. Leaving the house, leaving the gym, going home, it knows where you are going and gives you the status of the drive. Nothing is sacred anymore.

Speaking of Apple, does anyone walk anywhere without carrying their phone? Once Apple Pay gets going the era of the men’s wallet will finally end. The government has to figure out how to get the driver’s license on the smartphone sooner than later.

OK, back to Thanksgiving meal. How long to consume 5000+ calories? No matter how hard we try, we are done eating in 20 minutes OR less (not counting seconds and thirds).

Happy Thanksgiving!

How Sweet It Is: MSU Stomps U-M

Are you a MSU or U-M fan?

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45 degrees and rain. Cold rain that chills your bones.

Tailgaters filled up the International Center and MSU bookstore more than the parking lots to stay warm and dry.

Spartan Stadium sold out for the first time this year. Even the aloof students finally showed up.

Gallons and gallons of hot chocolate and coffee being poured. Ice cream sandwiches were not in demand even though MSU now makes their own at a whopping 110% fat grams per serving.

First it was the U-M marching band (not bad but most likely Reese Puffer would beat them in competition) then it was the Spartan marching band getting the fans on their feet. And the smart fans never left their feet.

Then the moment we were all waiting for: The football game to start.

U-M took an early 3-0 lead but that my friends was the only lead they would see for the rest of the game. In as many years I have been a Spartan fan, I have never seen an ass-whipping like this. It was U-M’s worst loss in team history and there were so many records broken, even the statisticians couldn’t keep up. Brady Hoke, gloveless, hatless, jacketless and headset less walked around the entire game patting his players not on the back but on their ass like they did a good job. If Hoke was brought on to toughen U-M, many would have second thoughts. Seven sacks and –48 net rushing yards.

Now if Conner Cook completed just half his wide open passes, the game would have been put away well before the end of the third quarter. But MSU always finds a way to add drama to its games and finally, and I say finally, this time they didn’t blow it on stupid personal fouls or dropped punts. They played a full 60 minutes and it showed.

With MSU beating U-M that last 5 out of 6 meetings, perhaps the rivalry has little meaning anymore. Can you imagine the OSU score when they get done with the Wolverines? However truth be told, the rivalry will always exist because there are more cocky U-M fans in Michigan and the USA than Spartan fans. And the victor loves its bragging rights for the year.

Bet against us now, and pay the price.

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Michigan football is in big trouble. However If they can win one more game this year, let it be this Saturday at home vs. Nebraska. That’s the minimum little sister can do for us.

Happy Monday!