Six reasons (beside Rhule’s history) to keep a positive vision on 2022, the QB ‘upgrade,’ as Panthers get Mayfield cheap

Baker Mayfield will continue to be a MAJOR source of interest in Charlotte, now that Positive Reason #1, Panthers GM Scott Fitterer, has fixed their QB situation, again. Props to Baker for converting a manly chunk of guaranteed salary into incentive pay, its what moved the needle. Cam is *definitely* off the board.

Walking to the terrific Queens University campus is less than a mile, and its truly a jewel in Charlotte’s crown. It was an idyllic 4th of July, with a car parade, and young families – Yo! Nick Savarino with three little ones – pouring in from all directions.

Another under-loved QB comes to Charlotte

I actually cheered when Matt Stafford got out of Detroit last year. Stafford seemed like a good player whose Lions always lost, wasn’t going anywhere (but years he would never forget, as per his phone commercial). Then the Rams asked what it would take to replace Jared Goff with him, and it paid off in a Super Bowl win, as Stafford got good ball to all their receivers.

Fitterer brought Sam Darnold to Charlotte last year after three poor seasons with Jets, under nearly the same circumstances as Mayfield’s deal. Less draft capital (a conditional #5) spent, and Mayfield doesn’t have the $18.85MM option tag fans have opined about Mr. Tepper picking up too quickly (though in line with CBA). He also pulled a 3rd round pick out of his hat to get Mississippi QB Matt Corral this year.

Lets hope Mayfield brings a real chip on shoulder attitude regarding nobody wanting him for $18 million. Darnold beat his old Jets to start last year, but Baker hanging a quantity of whupa** (300 yards, 3 TDs enough?) on Cleveland to start 2022 season will have fans singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ SO GOODs! for him.

Mayfield keeping DJMoore, McCaffrey, Robbie Anderson et al happy with distribution like Stafford’s would be a darn good first step. “Super Bowl” shouldn’t pass anyone’s lips.

–Me, and IMHO, minimum number of Ws for Rhule’s Rule on ‘major 3rd year improvement’ should be nine wins. It’s still Tepper’s $$$.

CMC is *always* open, or just turning and give the rock to him is legitimate. There’s a TOTALLY new O-line, $$$ well-spent, including local product Ikem Ekwonu, the stud OLT Panthers have missed forever, props to Jordan Gross. Podcaster Colin Cowherd feels Baker could be best QB in the division soon, because they’ll give him every chance to produce- and Brady has to retire sometime.

BIG Reason #2 – Christian McCaffrey

As noted in his Panther bio:

Despite only playing seven games in 2021 due to injury, Christian McCaffrey became the fastest player to reach 3,000 receiving yards and 3,000 rushing yards in NFL history, doing it in his first 57 career games.

Christian McCaffrey is a documented high-achiever, and he’s ready to tear it up again, after most of two years on the shelf (99 carries/442 yds./1 TD in 2021). Its difficult to judge whether he made the Panthers offensive line look better than it was with the 1000 yards rushing and receiving year, but that’s kind of the standard he’ll be looking at. Running behind a much improved O-line should be gratifying to all.

Yes, “staying healthy” often comes up, but stop that noise about wearing out/breaking CMC now. Long-time Panther linebacker Thomas Davis https://www.panthers.com/team/players-roster/thomas-davis/ had knee surgeries that would have ended many careers, and he had 14 seasons of thrills to his credit.

Anyone who thought McCaffrey was trade bait for DeSean Watson trade was nuts. HE sure didn’t like riding the bench, wasn’t given the choice.

#3 – How much better can Defense be?

Lets make two things clear- the Panthers D was #2 in the league, allowed 305 yards/game – giving up 23.8 points was 21st (of 32). The cupboard clearly isn’t bare on that side of the ball, and Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow isn’t riding on reputation at 67. https://www.panthers.com/news/phil-snow-excited-by-all-his-new-options Some pretty solid flag planting was done last year, 36 sacks, coming from a bottom three in league ranking in nearly every category the year before Snow arrived.

JEREMY CHINN is a bright and effective weapon wherever he lines up, Jaycee Horne has lots of peoples attention, coming back from a broken foot. Burns, Brown, Shaq Thompson, several free agent signings, the squad has risen from road kill to quite respectable. Hasson Riddick’s 11.5 sacks/12 tackles for loss/18 QB hits is a free agent loss (3 yr./$45MM with Eagles), but what comes out of Spartanburg should thrill fans often.

In a division with The GOAT (Brady), Atlanta and the Saints look vulnerable at QB – Panthers won’t fear Jameis Winston at the controls. If/when the defense stops giving up short scoring drives and the offense puts points on board (17.9ppg, 29th) vs. three and outs, those sacks become more important. It would still be better if ‘Action’ Jackson used speed to tip balls away vs. whacking receivers immediately after catches.

#4 – Baker Mayfield – Size of fight in the dog

They used to respect a guy being gutsy, playing through injury, and that obviously cost Baker with stats. Brownies bet the franchise on Deshaun Watson, he was out on salary, not Good Baker-Bad Baker performance. He lit things up with 26 TD-8 INT season and a playoff win against arch-rival Pittsburgh the year before.

7/6/22 – Me, okay with Baker Mayfield (and McCaffrey) playing with chips on their shoulder this year.

The first time he throws a 60 yard rainbow to the flag that DJ Moore comes down with, I won’t be the only Panther fan to spit my beer in joy. Cam NEVER had that throw.

STATS don’t tell the story of fight in the dog analogies, and his history of Attitude-talent, bouncing from Texas Tech to OK and a national championship and Heisman is well known. As with Cam and Darnold, all that sort of gets baked into the way we’ll be looking at results. The first time he throws a 60 yard rainbow to the flag that DJ Moore comes down with, I will spit my beer in joy. Cam NEVER had that throw.

New Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo’s teams in NY were run-oriented, but CMC is going to be a huge pain for linebackers on all the check down passes he’ll get. *Maybe* they’ll even throw it to Hubbard if they lighten CMC’s reps. Nobody wants him or DJ Moore out in space – tough to get on the ground.

#5 OFFENSIVE LINE, Especially OT Ikem Ekwonu

The Panthers are back in Spartanburg, SC after a new practice facility-headquarters deal in Rock Hill blew up. In 2018, the heat index was brutal at 10 a.m., most spectators wisely in minimal shade.

There was rejoicing all around with the ‘local boy makes good’ choice of Ekwonu, a Providence Day (Charlotte) grad who played collegiately at North Carolina State. At 6’4″, 320 pounds, he’s the epitome of protecting a quarterbacks blind side, and wowed! all with pancake blocks on a regular basis. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2022/03/25/panthers-6-pick-cant-fill-two-major-needs-so-7-ideas-for-gm-fitterer-to-consider-along-the-way/

Taylor Moton was considered an underachiever in Year 2, but he’s a stud at 28 now, all right? One of five players in league to play every snap the last four years. Got the contract extension last year to prove it. Christiansen will apparently get his shot at LG, and along with several solid free agent signings, Panthers will now have depth to run OC McAdoo’s run-oriented offense, after years of moving players all over when injuries occurred.

There’s some evidence that the line which was good enough to help McCaffrey get that rare 1000-1000, might have hidden some blemishes.

The difference McCaffrey makes to an offensive line is elemental, his ability to go long is inspirational – hold your block that fraction of a second and CMC could be checking his style on the big screen for last ten yards of a score. While previous OC Joe Brady’s offensive scheme didn’t impress the NFL, McAdoo has Moton and Ikem where he wants them, and James Campen is a well regarded line coach. https://www.panthers.com/news/panthers-adding-james-campen-offensive-line-coach

#6 Winning cures Everything

Perhaps its a little easier to understand how losing organizations fans are somehow cheered by the start of another year. Stafford would be a poster child for that – Detroit always felt if they got a few more quality players (a few? sorry…) they could be competitive, because they had an above average QB. That Charlotte, after a pair of 5 win seasons, smells that same air is encouraging.

In the 2015-16 Super Bowl year, fans here reallllly weren’t believing getting there was possible, not until they mauled Dallas 33-14 on Thanksgiving to get to 10-0. They also thought they’d been Carolina nice enough to Darnold to get him thinking-playing righter down here, so adding even a definitely better QB isn’t going to move a lot of needles. Just sayin’.

Its way too early for any kind of projection, although my suspicion about nine wins earns Rhule his contract is a flag in the sand. Tepper decided not to cut bait OR fish on an $800 million Rock Hill HQ, but eating the last years of Rhule’s contract if he’s found wanting in victories/growth doesn’t seem likely to be necessary. Neither will any further discussion of Cam somehow getting a spot on even a 90-man roster in Charlotte.

WFH upgrade, 5 suit day count in micro-economy, Boomer with Attitude starts Year 28 of Charlotte Experience with ‘New Normal’

With sincere thanks to NY bro David’s effort in delivering the desk 800 miles, having a chocolate donut with Mom, and snap decision to drive to/stay overnight at Steve’s place in the VA mountains are quality family time. ‘Stable’ is $700 of new wheels not being a crisis, #gshorkonsharonroadseam is Home in Year 28.

Its a reboot for #WFH (#workfromhome) career to have family heirloom upright secretary back. Uncramped work area in second bedroom vs. living room, and Mom’s favorite rug becomes the space I’ve needed. #gshorkonsharonroadseam
Bro David and Mom, who still likes her donuts.

Ready to hop on my trusty 12spd Miyata and GO! after finishing this blog is very much included in any New Normal, and I’ve taken comfort from maintaining a decently high physical balance even before lockdown end of March, 2020 or Medicare 65 Boomer.

Working a retail schedule, I push myself to continue above average habits on cooking-eating and exercise. I refuse to consider current 190 means I’ve lost muscle mass from 193 ‘best,’ become a littler, older man.

I hadn’t stepped on a scale until lately, and I’m not worried.

Take a collective breath on another glorious, sunny North Carolina blue sky, high 80s day instead, and catch the Rangers-Lightning game later pal, New Normal isn’t all bad. One-ninety? I look good. Doing two laps of the Booty Loop nearby? Sure, and riding, walking around, or close to work, #gshorkonsharonroadseam is a great New Normal.

I say Boomer with Attitude, and my physical body movement is still an expected positive. I’d like to thump some tennis balls to check out my swing, after shoulder injury from a bike accident two years ago, but I pulled a calf muscle. What do you mean, did I stretch first?

–Me, officially Medicare-old 65.

New Normal

New Normal was willing to take part in a sweaty Hotwalkers Ball tent with LOTS of excited people at the Queens Cup Steeplechases in early May, my first major crowd time in a while really. Bros Steve, Dave and I went to Charlotte FC soccer game Saturday, 26,000 in lower bowl, but I hadn’t considered how close things would be on the train I took in. I’m three-vaxed, but last four stops to stadium were maximum crowded, and I don’t pretend to be bullet-proof to whatever else comes down the pike.

Yes, I used ‘bullet-proof’ instead of other words, not lightly, but because these most recent slaughters cannot possibly EVER be considered as a New Normal.

–Me, and 90% of America

Will Ukraine and Russia pummeling each other – using former Russian satellites ammunition, aircraft, and tanks- become part of New Normal? If Poland feels Ukraine’s pain based on pre-World War II, Booyah! Everyone wants to be in NATO now. Putin’s self-fulfilling worst fear. The button, and pulling the whole world down with nukes – does that reenter the world worries as New Normal?

I was four and living in West Palm Beach, FL during Cuban Missile Crisis of ’61, even a kid could feel the tension. I can’t fathom full out war outside my door like in Ukraine.

A week before Fourth of July, the economic pros say 50/50 on recession, while I finally had inventory and posted a four suit week. My writing gig as http://www.cdtalententerprises.com proceeds.

Bros Weekend -Soccer, Mom, Road trip

The donut with Mom was a son who cared treat, David even had a big ol’ glazy fritter for me, as we wheeled her out to the gazebo in middle of Carmel Hills parking lot. Since then, I turned getting her out of the room where I usually fed her lunch into a New Normal for me, reading to her twice a week while getting rides in earlier to beat real heat.

We three decided to road trip up to Steve’s place in Meadows O’ Dan, VA (147 miles) right after visit with Mom, and figured out the TV situation in time to see two blowout games. It was the first time I’d been up there, and it gave David a two hour head start on return to upstate New York on Monday.

First visit to Steve’s place in Meadows o’ Dan, VA. peaceful. Eggs & coffee, discussion beyond just sports, 15 min. drive to a ‘real’ road, then pedal to the metal driving

The Bro stuff wasn’t anything extraordinary, except that we haven’t done it all that much recently. We did a goodly amount of opinion passing during a British movie about a WWII espionage effort that helped a successful invasion of Sicily, and several episodes of a whacky as hell series regarding a pregnant 40-yr. old Brit and younger American who cares. Both of them seemed to know about it.

Going back, it took a full 15 minutes on twisty roads to get to something I could connect with at I-77 . Blowing down the highway to get someplace on time is a road trip staple, affirming I can plan and execute with precision.

Nailing a FIVE SUIT DAY after getting back, on a MONDAY! Ooo-rah!

Already doing a happy dance from two customers buying two suits each, a gentleman appeared just before closing, said he had an emergency in New Orleans the next day, and needed a black suit right then. Two black Baker suits was all I had in stock, one was the 44 Regular customer needed. Whether one of us was lucky, or maybe living Right, it worked for my micro-economy.

My Micro-Economy

It wasn’t pollen, but something had me draining crazy bad for three days, enough that I called out on Wednesday. After day four of those little pills, results for drying up were as desired. No suit sales again (one for week) but still $2000+ overall Saturday. One customer liked the shirt I suggested so much, he had me order THE LAST ONE in system to get 34/35 sleeve.

We’ve done it more often than should have to for standard replenishment level items.

A former Davidson football player – so said the tee shirt – bought five of the eight Peter Millar shirts he tried on (surprisingly, three Smalls) while upgrading his look to what others in his office are wearing. Right, everyone still likes Peter Millar.

Knowing the back is FULL of suits that we’re not supposed to sell until *mid-JULY* for Anniversary (and will be strongly discounted then), when I have people NOW who will pay full price, its a definite crimp in my micro-economy.

Inflation? As the WORLD gets things back in gear supplying whatever to whomever, there will still be choke points, like Ukraine (winter wheat) and Shanghai shipping (20% of shipping, lockdown) but annual 9.1% rate isn’t the sweet spot. We, the collective America, don’t have any sway on that, so we’ll have to adjust micro-economics to reflect What Is in real time. More umpiring income again this Fall?

Getting new rubber all the way around for 2013 Hyundai Sonata, the $700 wasn’t a crisis in my micro-economy. Saying “Do it” without a hitch is a cool New Normal. WFH gigs as consistent parts of micro-economy is still New Normal.

Lifestyle

Yes, I’ve watched a lot of hockey and hoops after work, don’t know if I’ll apologize for wasting time either. Watching our sports is a very real part of Normal Culture. Nobody is putting out COVID warnings for all those raucous crowds for March Madness, 75,000 here in Charlotte for home opener, and plenty of towel-waving people in tight, dramatic hockey games I’ve watched.

Minus The Breath of Death possibility of recent past that COVID-19 represented, having dates for Whitewater Center concerts in search of Ms. or Mr. Right could be New Normal good too.

#gshorkonsharonroadseam is still where Home is.

8 Examples of Great for Mother’s Day – When She’s Happy, Everyone’s Happy (@the mall)

After a sometimes frustrating day directly related to on-going supply problems – like no tuxedos to sell! – from time spent on tie selection to finding a pair of size Small black shorts, Mom’s deserve their reputations for successful shopping. They also appreciate those who help them.

Moms #1 and #2

Day after Mother’s Day, not lilies. #gshorkonsharonroadseam

Abe Madkour, Publisher/Exec. Editor of Sports Business Journal/Daily, and wife Christina are what personal relationship building with clients is all about. Sunday they brought three suits to put together shirts and tie outfits with – two blues and a darker one, with plaid elements of copper/burgundy.

A frequent question of mine is, “Is he a good try-er on-er?” and while she said not particularly, “Abe knows where he wants to get to on situations, and he does what’s necessary.” That involved trying on five and buying three shirts, including ordering a lavender-speck shirt that set offs an A-1 hot raspberry and dark paisley tie choice. IMHO, guys are mostly past the not trying on attitudes of yore.

Collectively we nailed his “I want some things that always look good, and one combination that’s definitely major pop!”

Coming from our alterations area and having the lady and teen son already at checkout with a decent pile of clothes, was a revelation. Best practices first question is to ask whether they’d been working with anyone – maybe they’re getting another item in back – her response a gratifying, “I’m working with YOU.”

Just sayin’, glad the current manager was close enough to hear that, we’ve had some hoo-ha! about customer grabbing recently.

What became an $800 sale began with my questioning whether black shorts she wanted to order in Small matched options on my screen. Going back to find another size to help with search, she returned with the desired black shorts, a large ‘S’ on front tag kid hadn’t seen. If that isn’t the archetypical Mom move…

Going back to find another size that might help with search, she returned with the desired black shorts, a large ‘S ‘on front tag.

If that isn’t the archetypical Mom move…

Half-way through the ringing up, Ray passed behind me and said, “I forgot all about them,” later explaining he’d gone upstairs after putting them in the dressing area to have a quick sandwich on a busy day. He relaxed, forgot, and yet no bad feelings because he knew the sandwich, not me, was the point.

#3 – Mom got lilies

Brother Steve took some great looking lilies to Mom at Carmel Hills, and said she was awake and coherent while he served her lunch. She was a strong eater the last time I was there, and nobody minimizes what Good-er Days means to all of us.

With plentiful traffic throughout Mother’s Day, lacking certain basics in current suit-tuxedo market affects my micro-economy directly. Having kept a selling streak going over a decently long stretch, over a month, when ‘Not available in black’ is the search answer for a size 40 or 42 (but plenty of 38 Shorts) for anything, you have a clear supply problem.

Putting guys into any Peter Millar suits or jackets has been iffy, the only positive is knowing how brisk my selling COULD BE if product was available.

Guys know why they are buying suits, weddings or old stuff doesn’t fit. If I can’t get a prom guy hooked up, I can ‘size him’ as information for all to go forward with in search. As a small point of personal pride, a Mom or Dad’s thank you so much! for the time and information, call it small ‘L’ legend building.

Me, often, because it counts plenty to provide that extra service.

Maybe that’s when you earn those times a Mom finds her son’s shorts and says, “YOU are helping me.”

#5 A fantastic leftover stir fry

Knowing all it’d take to satisfy me at 8:00pm would be a pack of noodles and the rest of squash, broccoli, orange pepper, onion, mushrooms and last of hickory smoked sauce, with two country ribs of chunked pork from Saturday night mmm-mmm! ahhh . Microwaved and again proof that leftover Chinese is always worth eating, just boil fast noodles, add crispy chow mein noodles, feet up, watching playoff hockey.

Three hours, two pair of socks!

Until walking into jackpot situation at register with Ms. Combs and son, the only sale on my scoreboard was two pair of socks. Two bing! bing! situations later, its a much brighter day. The challenge of juggling opinions – including a daughter and teen friend’s votes – with the Madkour’s was smile-worthy. Dad told us four guys, “If Momma’s happy, everyone’s happy,” a truth I helped many attain yesterday.

There’s no question about telling people there’s an online place at bottom of receipt if they want to tell management how helpful I was. Also, how #cdtalententerprises.com on card I often give them has blogs specifically about my POV on economy from behind the register.

— Me, lately.

A regular flow of prospects was available most of seven hours, and I’m a pro, never a need to panic, especially since we’ve gotten Peter Millar product. EVERYBODY likes Millar stuff. Salesperson-wise, its simple to enlighten customers about the fact more is now available size-wise. People smile when I add, “At least some of its finally off a ship, onto a truck, and gotten to here.”

Pointing out new possibilities is an easy intro to whether there’s something they want. “Do you have…?” is music to my ears.

SERVICE is still the keyword. Finding that single 17.5″ neck, 36-37″ sleeve the computer says is available ALWAYS counts. People might have gotten used to ordering on line, but getting good help face-to-face is a factor many, many people mention regarding me.

Talking to multiple shoppers will mean some are already with another salesperson, integrity is appreciated, often found lacking in retail. Talking with Abe and Christina Madkour was a terrific luck of the draw while walking through suits, other times its just a comment or two and keep walking. I considered it a social interaction, actually fun, the back-forth of likes and how abouts, time agreeably invested.

I later recognized I’d played hoops with Abe over twenty years ago, Sunday or Monday night at St. Gabriel. Might have even approached him about sports-business writing, a talent I still work with.

#7 People buy from people they like

Yes, I absolutely was stylish Sunday, thanks to another appearance of my light green Palm Springs jacket, with mallards on classic green Vineyard Vines tie, slim cut blue with white slashes (Nordstrom brand) pants and sneakers. Classic white with green stripe Polo shirt was sharp, useful showing what ‘Trim’ means vs. Regular. Its not just a coincidence a Woman like Christina asked me for help making Abe look sharp.

#8 A half-hour shooting session after work, a hockey story

#gshorkonsharonroadseam

As both long time de-stressor and thinking resource, shooting hoops has always helped keep my scene stable. During worst of pandemic, the three rims in back of Rama Road School were only ones in Charlotte without rims rendered useless by 2×4 section across them. There’s a colored map of US in parking lot, sometimes I shoot from Anchorage, Alaska.

This picture of a now raggedy red-white-blue net, our backyard court in Schenectady, NY often had such a net. Easy to remember how Mom, in her sewing room upstairs, would hear a Shit! slip out of her teenage sons during 3-3 games, everyone knew it was a five minute penalty.

Another Mom memory while watching the hockey. Back in college, brother Steve brought Mom, Dad, Aunt Jo, Uncle Howard, and cousin Mike, to my Brockport Girls Hockey Club game at Cornell’s Lynah Arena, before his JV hoops game.

Keeping the story short, our rag-tag ten girls – some without cages on borrowed intramural helmets – opened an 8-2 can of whupass on a 20 girl Ithaca College team with identical equipment, helmets, and jerseys. Four girls with two goals apiece, Judy Dufresne was a star in goal. My feet didn’t touch the ice afterwards, walking over to offer their coach a “Good game.”

After borrowing green jerseys from the Brockport Men’s team Friday after practice, I’d tossed them in an equipment bag, never thinking about them until passing cold, wet, stankin’ jerseys out to the girls Saturday afternoon.

When they objected to the conditions, all I said was, “Put them on, we need to tape numbers on the back.” It seemed like Ithaca didn’t want to go near our girls… Many are probably grannies now. (Forty-three years ago. smh, the thought of those jerseys when I opened that bag. I’m crying laughing…)

Between periods, when I went into the stands to talk to my family, Mom mentioned “All the girls seem to have enormous rear ends.”

She had no idea the pants were padded.

Thanks for the memories Mom, and all the rest of the Mom-ness along the way.

‘Great Suit Feeling’ in retail continues, Queens Cup races a social grace, Panthers get stud left tackle Ekwonu

My personal micro-economy gets #1 for attention, but the steeplechases are a premier Must-Do live in NC sunshine event, one I’ve enjoyed five times. Our American football? vs. futbol team has drafted help in a VERY big way. Hellllloooo Ikem Ekwonu!

Tony did a great job on an old pinstripe

Customers respond to someone who walks the talk with style, redone pinstripe was a worthy micro-economy investment.

An analogy between what the Carolina Panthers have recently said regarding QB Sam Darnold and my new-look classic blue suit is righteous. You appreciate the bones-skills, but it doesn’t look quite right.

Who didn’t know the Panthers have been wringing their hands, about how to upgrade the position AND fix an underlying problem with offensive protection, specifically at left tackle in the draft? Darnold hadn’t overly-impressed anyone in ten starts in 2021, picking up his 5th year option early was seen as a misstep.

Then, in days before yesterdays draft, there were headlines about ‘Mr. Tepper likes QB Panthers have,’ and ‘Steve Smith says Carolina hasn’t seen how good Sam Darnold can really be’ (duh), and similar stories.

Did someone in the brain trust decide running down Darnold for $18MM due in another season and negatives of stats https://www.pff.com/nfl/players/sam-darnold/29048 was less effective than putting a “We could win with Sam!” face on things? (Still, I doubt anybody would want to be in Baker Mayfield’s cleats right now…)

Relative to my suit – I can’t really remember how old it is, certainly from the previous centuryit owed me nothing. ‘Just a suit,’ like Darnold coming from Jets, just a QB.

It didn’t cost anywhere near $18 million to make important changes though.

Panther fans won’t be as unanimous about how Ekwonu (salvation by local boy!) and Darnold (still here, huh?) present themselves when things get real this fall, but everyone has been positive about my suit’s transformation. Tightening things up with Darnold’s game would be a similar deal.

While wearing an older-‘experienced’ pinstripe suit and ties was already classier than most coworkers wear at Nordstrom’s, I believe customers relate to a professional image. ‘I have the suit, what can I do with it?’ didn’t take Scott Fitterer-level smarts to invest $145 in upgrading this regularly used asset. (Thanks Tony!)

  • Legs not billowy, tapered now.
  • No cuffs, almost showing ankle, Shortest I’ve worn in forever.
  • I still have pleats! Waist and behind taken in
  • The top button, at bottom of lapel, is repositioned.
  • Jacket difference is huge,*definitely* feels closer, sleeker. Wallet goes to back pocket, it changes the line on right side.
  • We didn’t mess with lapels – its always a classic pinstripe.
  • An inch off bottom was an immediate, noticeable change. ($52)

Yes, I picked up the option on doing another suit – then negotiated with the shoe shine guy for polishing and a tight left boot situation. Spirit of the season on ‘additional considerations’?

Queens Cup Steeplechases

The aura of Good Will that permeates the QCS is legendary. Congrats on Silver Anniversary!

Whatever they’d told me a ticket cost at Harris Teeter, I’d have gladly paid it. The event history is a specific charity – Alzheimer’s Association in this, the events Silver Anniversary running – gets a significant jolt from proceeds. For $60, after three years away, vowing NOT to miss this All Kinds of Good social event to WORK! was easy. Using the “Never is heard a discouraging word” is Truth – once you’ve been, you’ll know.

There are ‘good horsies’ in a central area, where children and sorority sisters can be led around on or have pictures taken astride. If the Raptor Center can be allowed out again safely, previous owls and hawks were excellent for kids, wildlife up close. Newbies are the greatest to show around, its impossible not to strike up conversations with total strangers over cornhole, haberdashery, or tailgating.

The bright yellow Garcia tie with blue-blue Bugachi, topped with ‘antique’ 1979 Ferrari hat, from final Watkins Glen (NY) Formula I race.

It’ll be seersucker or Nantucket Red pants, and because I’m saving #1 Tommy Bahama shirt for a costume change, a bright yellow Garcia autograph tie with good-fitting blue-blue Bugachi (long sleeve, $160) to show some Ukrainian support. Ahhh! and an ‘antique’ Ferrari hat, purchased with poker winnings at Watkins Glen Formula races waaaay back, never fails to get comment.

I haven’t experienced the major sponsor tents – in tiers along the finish line, after a loooong final straightway – but the Top Tailgate award winner (entrants around infield of the 1.5 mi. turf) is often an excellent place to get an additional beverage or snacks.

Operationally, its a slow drive through Waxhaw (Note: Took 1:15 to go last mile, coming from south on 75), to get to the GA (general admission) gates, so allow some time for that. If you don’t catch one of the small tour buses, the walk in from the far out fields is a decent trek. Being even a little early on the 1:30ish first race, you’ve got a shot at closer parking.

The After-Party (Hotwalkers Ball) is a buffet and an always jumping band, which continues about 1 1/2 hours after last (of usually six) races.

Micro-economy still a Great Suit Feeling

While pleased with my own haberdashery after suit upgrade, setting up one dude with something that spoke of ‘uptown casual’ tone of invitation for QCS was fun for all.

We were on a Millar sportscoat (silver-gray-black with almost Panther-blue window pane, $700) early, but the final choices were a blue Hugo Boss unlined hyperlight ($390), Millar sueded-medium gray pants (a must have, $158), Bugachi short sleeve ($150) white with smaller, three-color swirls, and cognac Mangianni weave belt ($150). I told him most of his outfit was free, if you put it against the original sportcoat $$.

Cranked it ($4,700) on Monday, capping a hustling last two hours with a $2,000 Canali suit as they counted down the last 15 minutes to 8:00 close. That made me #2 in the store, and Tuesday night I sold handled another suit past 8:00. For someone who STILL hasn’t gotten a Sunday in six weeks, my numbers are strong.

I’ve interviewed for another sales situation (with a much higher upside to a good day) that’s appeared, so my micro-economy is like millions of others – ready to do more than listen, I’m ready to make moves.

Absolutely nailed a Hugo Boss black suit, 44 Regular, first shot out of barrel Friday. Gentleman was impressed with long-sleeve Bugachi black shirt (ooooCotton! $160), killer textured off-black belt ($1300 total), scoring a last minute-kick save! on classic black funeral outfit for him. The hem on pants (+$60 alterations) was ready in morning.

Losing another suit to politics was an unfortunate situation, but I’ll be over it well before I’m done with my second Lazy Bird Brown Ale tomorrow.

My micro-economy is like millions of others in USA – ready to do more than listen, I’m ready to make moves.

We’ll see how my picking of horseflesh – there’s no real betting, just sayin’ “I think the gray one” – results stacks up with whenever/whomever the Panthers get to pick again.

Extra note about draft: Panthers GM Scott Fitterer is the bomb-diggity, trading up to third round to get Matt Corral, the necessary QB upgrade that was Item 1-A in draft. https://www.nfl.com/news/panthers-trade-up-to-select-ole-miss-qb-matt-corral-in-third-round-of-2022-nfl-d

Income stream vs. Inflation – Umpiring passion affirms micro-economy decision making

As #gshorkonsharonroadseam begins a sixth month of housing stability, a $320 payoff for umpiring seven Little League games during a weekend of Carolina sunshine was a no-sweat affirmation on all levels of my micro-economy.

As a side-hustle, umpiring ($40-50/game) means doing something this Boomer considers meaningful for $20+ an hour. The MVMT watch is an inexpensive ($100) reminder of the self-motivation over last six months.

When selling an $1,800 Canali suit Monday was just a cherry on top of four days of positive results, its easy to admit things worked pretty close to optimal in my micro-economy.

By all means, have some gratitude when that happens, and its very okay to tell ‘your people’ when good opportunities and events happen along a sometimes rugged way, not just the dammit! stuff.

I admit to being half-stunned when Don Mason – the head of one organization I get assignments from – asked while I filled out some tax paperwork, “So, did you finally find a place to live?” Until this past week, when he texted to ask if I wanted to do any Sunday gigs, I hadn’t been in communication with him since October.

While I was tip-toeing with homelessness, Don fixed some concerns by cutting me two replacement checks, cash that filled real holes, and I was glad to let him know my current situation. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/12/11/vaxxed-check-with-a-comma-threat-of-homeless-handled-well-a-good-suit-feel-to-end-of-2021/ Few pull themselves out of troubled times without help from others. My family helped for sure, Don was supportive as well, a difference maker.

Once I got past the 5-moves-in-5-months hairiness he’d heard about and baseball ended, I was so very glad to be at #gshorkonsharonroadseam with lovely homes everywhere I walk, I concentrated on a Nordstrom’s ‘target rich environment’ at Christmas and commission checks.

I admit to wearing a scruffy pair of gray pants to umpire Sunday, and several other umps offered gear like plate shoes (foot protection) and alternative color shirts. I appreciated Don’s concern, and with my bank balance considerably up, moving to a good apartment #gshorkonsharonroadseam across the street from Myers Park Country Club’s tennis courts, finishing a second book, (https://www.wattpad.com/story/218725526-with-platinum-fury-focus) and resurfacing my writing-editing business #cdtalententerprises, yes, people should hear from you when things are going a heckuva lot better.

If you enjoy your side gigs AND make a couple extra bucks, that’s a great combination of passion and productivity. Micro-economy fact: $320 umpiring, 14 hrs. game time vs. $12.80 draw = 24. 5 retail hours. Much better work conditions.

I’m willing to add that income stream again, potentially $4000-5000. Coach-pitch is a minor hoot to watch-umpire, with the coaches and grandparents in attendance soooo sincere and supportive. The five run rule keeps two hour games moving reasonably. I get $40/game, I don’t even gear up, just the blue shirt and hat, and everyone is glad to chat.

Saturday I got home and created an excellent chicken stir fry lunch in time for the first semi-final (sorry Nova), then got my NCAA groove on, right to end of Duke-NC. That’s a pretty relaxing schedule, only took two foul tips in the mask Sunday, too.

At first I’d objected to a Nordstrom schedule with three Sundays in a row off (plus Easter), weekends usually having better shopper traffic. Set against actual commission I might get working a retail Sunday ($59 total last pay period), my micro-economy will continue rolling with alternative cash flow.

“Don’t quit your day job” (until…)

My opinion as an umpire is the one that counts, being in control an affirming factor and part of the job description. Getting others to clear rooms or fold shirts at Nordstrom’s won’t happen because I wear Blue.

— Me, a sad fact about that day job.

There hasn’t been a day recently – and Friday was April Fool’s – when aaaab-so-LOOTELY every necessary element of that day’s business worked out in A-1 fashion for me, launching four productive days and culminating in that Canali suit on Monday.

Three specific suits I’d done the phone work to order for clients all arrived in the tah-dah! nick of time, one was a clutch overnight delivery.

  • Client #1 (Mark) and his wife were super pleased with his perfect shade of lean blue Baker suit, which required only hemming the pants (one hour) to make it ready. Turns out, he’s a dentist, and after three years of pandemic neglect, I asked if he was accepting new clients, so I picked up an extra major goodness besides selling a suit.
  • Mr. Greenberg’s charcoal suit and he arrived at almost the same time – he’d been tracking it on FedEx, was ready to roll.
  • Sondra’s 42L in black (Ted Baker) indeed arrived as expected, I learned Thursday we weren’t as time crunched as she’d previously explained.

Before I knew all those suits would work out so successfully, Nik and his Mom (Nicole) came in. While everyone was quickly pleased with his glowing-good Baker suit, the Bugachi shirts (great feel, wash and hang dry – no ironing!) were a revelation to his Mom, and I couldn’t help smiling at her “No argument, you ARE getting that!” after he tried on a great tan check (Peter Millar), in an overall $2,100 sale.

I congratulated him regularly for his willingness to keep trying things on, it makes a difference,

My best practices explanation to wives-significant others is, suits are different. “Out there” non-shopper guys don’t know how many times they’ll have to put on-take stuff off. If he puts on-takes off 5x with suits, he’s probably seen two designers and two sizes, and he knows the reward – a new suit – is close.

Me, often, and its been magic when guys recognize that truth. (I’ve sold 20 suits/jackets/tuxedos in last 21 workdays)

That doesn’t mean it works for suits, it actually pushes regular trying on! Doing the looking doesn’t have to be miserable, its my job to put items in front of potential customers for yay/nay consideration. The younger guy needing a tie to match his prom dates dress wasn’t thinking a paisley blue and silver tie, but when she showed me the dress picture, and school colors are light blue, that’s exactly where things went.

Income stream – inflation

The elf I painted for one of my brothers, who worked at Home Depot to keep his house years ago.

So, most economic discussions the last couple years revolved around the effects of COVID, including moving the work environment to the home office or kitchen table. Whether WFH employees in higher or lower cost of living areas should get different paychecks was asked on LinkedIn and other sites many times, as was willingness to accept lower pay for the option. https://www.businessinsider.com/remote-working-from-home-thirdemployees-would-take-pay-cut-2021-11

Looking at the inadequate supply of suits in my store – having to order a 42 Regular in a popular Baker style speaks loudly – there’s an ongoing supply-demand problem. Suits have moved up $75-$100 in last couple months, those weddings and proms will keep coming, and the $750 sports coats (Millar) are going well at the other end of Sharon Road from my place.

While the US economy is rocking, its still going to take a while to even things out. Relative to the Ukrainian situation, I believe we’re getting it right much more than US – or specifically Biden in the polls – is sometimes given credit for. Having plenty of ammo in my micro-economy is a fact.

I could easily bike to work if gas prices get too crazy – its only about three miles. My rent and Social Security check are close to a balance, my Blue Cross-ACA is reasonable, but I’d suspend my entry to those benefits if another long-term gig utilizing my writing-editing background works out. I constitute a resource https://www.linkedin.com/in/glennshorkey/ and honestly expect to keep wordsmithing all the way to the end (10 years?).

Seems like Boomer talents are back in vogue, pushing, or maybe allowing semi-retired to put their shoulders into a collective effort to move things along better. Enlightened self-interest still works as an incentive to collaboration. Umpiring isn’t just balls, strikes, outs, its doing something necessary for the greater good, AND I make more than gas money for the effort.

Having tried multi-level marketing in the past, handling my micro-economy with three income streams is still a best practices route. There’s no real need to panic buy ‘before it goes up’ either – the used washer/dryer I’m putting on my back porch ($250) are in very good shape, a purchase that wouldn’t have happened three months ago. Just sayin’…

Panthers #6 pick can’t fill two major needs, so 7 Ideas for GM Fitterer to consider along the way

Without burying the lead, but with a quantity of tongue in cheek, the answer is Testaverde. They wouldn’t owe anyone compensation picks.

Just kidding, a bit of shock therapy there. Its Kaepernick.

Every Panther fan, in fact the NFL WORLD knows how desperately the Carolina Panthers want-need an alpha-type leader as a quarterback. Sound of mind and limb (letting Cam out the side door easily with that criteria), able to hand the ball to McCaffrey regularly, and throw some long TDs to the now properly taken care of contract-wise DJ Moore.

With the DeShaun Watson dalliance settled after his trade to Cleveland (!?), and nobody experts project as a franchise QB in the draft, that #6 should mean General Manager Scott Fitterer grabs a documented and undeniably sturdy OLT (offensive left tackle) to settle an obvious long term line problem.

Names are circulating, but if you’ve heard the Panthers might select a stud edge rusher, that’s what they call ‘smoke.’

Highly Motivated – Absolutely!

Are Kaep’s skills anywhere near NFL levels after years (post 2016) wandering in the relative desert, essentially black-listed for his kneeling as a silent message about constant shooting-killing of young black men by white cops across America? Held to the light of retreads (Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick) who have gotten opportunities elsewhere, is he at all a consideration?

Just in case you didn’t know, Kaep and the Panthers passed this way before, in 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1z2kBAO5yI

While it would have to be one HELL of a workout to make such a bet-the-franchise move, when options include Cam and the un-good performance of Darnold over his first ten games, Baker Mayfield sure isn’t a more logical answer than Kaepernick.

You wouldn’t keep the lid on a workout with professional route runners Kaep says he’d like to throw to (Panthers have several), some PR circus would accompany it – Cleveland is getting a ration of negativity for bringing Watson in – but that isn’t Panthers problem. Would they have to make a huge offer to satisfy some sense of ‘worth’ after so long, or just put together a ‘Make Good’ incentive package (Wins? 4000 yards, Comeback Player of Year?) that puts him in camp and working full time on his skills?

Cam’s haberdashery and previous community efforts shouldn’t and won’t count in further discussions.

‘Make good’ sounds like a winner, and its doubtful Mr. Tepper pays prime $$$ for another stop gap QB. Like many teams, when you’re down, it behooves looking at all options, and Panthers continue to sign positional players. If Coach Rhule can’t turn a former Temple player like PJ Walker into the starter, Darnold is signed for $18MM, and Rodgers got $200MM to stay in Green Bay, Fitterer will have some leeway on a contract.

#2 – Sam Darnold

Okay, this isn’t Sam Darnold by any stretch of imagination, but would he be more likeable if he dressed like Cam?

Charlotte fans were willing to believe some good loving after three years in New York would cure the former #3 overall pick of all his demons, yet with an easy, 25th place schedule, his ability to throw the long ball, and a plethora of offensive options, he indeed under-performed in 2021.

How much blame for that goes with exiled Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady, whose LSU superstars (Joe Burrow, 4 receivers, RBs) blowing away college secondaries got him the job but didn’t seem to faze many pros, is open to discussion.

FYI – Panthers will be playing the 12th toughest schedule this year. https://www.panthers.com/news/carolina-panthers-2022-opponents-are-set

Yes, Darnold looks like a weak link, and whether anyone could fail while having CMC to hand off to (please, please!) or to drop swing passes he lugs 18 yards or so, we may never know. In gallows humor, if the Panthers can’t somehow package him in a trade, at least he isn’t the $40MM dead money salary cap hit former Falcon Matt Ryan’s team was willing to take by shoving him at the Colts.

Darnold looks like a weak link, but at least he isn’t wearing a massive, albatross level $40MM dead money salary cap hit former Falcon Matt Ryan’s team was willing to take.

FYI – An albatross has nearly a 10 foot wing span, and is considered an insult when its meant as a psychological burden that feels like a curse. In Rime of the Ancient Mariner  (Coleridge,1798), as bad luck (becalmed) continues, the ships crew blame their misfortunes on the mariner killing an albatross, which is hung from the his neck to signify the mariner’s culpability in cursing the ship.

Sam Darnold is not the unwieldy burden Ryan’s $40 million cap hit is.

Jury is out on Coach Rhule – Year 3

Ending pursuit of Watson means the Panthers will be able to keep many of their really good pieces, which includes a defense that’s regained a place in the middle of the pack compared to previous bottom three in most categories. Jeremy Chinn, Derek Brown, and edge rusher-mayhem maker Brian Burns are part of that cadre. Donte Jackson would belong in that category if he used that speed to *stop* receptions instead of laying a lick on receivers immediately after the catch.

Whether every former player (Temple, Baylor) of Rhule’s that comes to Panthers is an automatic best choice, Fitterer is a known and respected quantity as a trader. It seemed like a gaping hole had been fixed with his initial signing of Darnold, but he’ll be essential in continuing to bring in possibilities. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/04/09/panthers-take-care-of-business-gm-fitterer-lands-qb-darnold-to-get-rolling/

Coaches are hired to be fired, and the NFL landscape is littered with unsuccessful college transitions. If Rhule still has any reason to be thankful the last Thursday in November, so will a lot of Panther fans. Tepper’s new futbol team, Charlotte FC, came out of the gate with a record-breaking home crowd of over 75,000. https://www.charlottefootballclub.com/video/miguel-ramirez-talks-match-against-fc-cincinnati-first-win#miguel-ramirez-talks-match-against-fc-cincinnati-first-win. Success there doesn’t mean he’d be at all happy with a Panthers team that puts up less than a serious playoff-level season.

The Panthers Defense is up to Snuff

Two drafts ago the Panthers used all seven picks on defense, and Phil Snow came in with Rhule from Baylor as Defensive Coordinator. Last year their #1 pick was Jaycee Horn, who didn’t play after week three with a broken foot. Chinn-Horn could become a bona fide lock-down duo, the D moved to middle of pack, and while early raves for doing well against three weak teams to start weren’t reality, the Panther defense finished strong (36 sacks) by many metrics. https://www.catscratchreader.com/2022/1/19/22888030/final-2021-ratings-for-the-panthers-defense-per-pro-football-focus.

In all the messaging from Houston about Watson, it seemed like draft picks, help for the Texan defense, and even McCaffrey, were thought possibilities to go in the pot, so losing defensive progress would’ve replaced QB as a challenge.

Burns is an actual stud, this could well be his blossom year. Will speed rusher be the greatest necessity in draft? Highly doubtful.

McCaffrey Silences the Doubters

To say “It is what it is” about Christian McCaffrey’s two year holding pattern is almost legitimate, but if Kaepernick would be well motivated, CMC is a documented over-achiever https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/panthers-restructure-christian-mccaffreys-contract-reportedly-clear-up-5-5-million-in-cap-space/ Charlotte has paid for the best of what comes next, McCaffrey restructured that $21.5 MM bonus contract so many talk about, so you’ll see how he feels about being sidelined for most of two years.

At NO point should anyone be linking his name as trade bait. He might have made the offensive line look better than it was up until then, but great players elevate the play of those around them. Believing a block held an extra part of a second might mean McCaffrey breaks a big one fires a team up. The Buccaneers have Tom Brady back, you KNOW the belief he instills as The GOAT. Don’t sweat that the Panthers have worn CMC out by overuse, he is coming loaded for payback.

#6 – The McAdoo Offense

Perhaps there are doubts about getting anything from the Giants, but if the Panthers new offensive coordinator gets the benefit of salary cap funds (about $29MM, as noted) going into the offensive line instead of switching parts around every time someone gets injured, that would be progress. Fitterer doing anything except trading down a couple spots while still getting that stud OLT isn’t going to happen.

Just WHO is going to run *any* offense will be the primary question. Kaep is 34 now, he hasn’t taken a beating in a while, so it’s not a hard thirty-four, and he’s as worthy of being talked about as anyone. The NFL has mostly given up the RPO (run-pass option) that Cam, Russ, RPG III, and several others did well with early, because defensive coordinators quickly decided whacking the QB on every play would make teams leery of putting high value QBs health on the line.

Offensive line play WILL improve, and not getting Watson to Charlotte means lots of other people get paid. DJ Moore is on track to game-breaker status, but only if Panthers QB (Kaepernick?) has time, with ability to move around when necessary. Giants O-lines always had a reputation for grinding power game, Chubba and CMC will be able to work with that, and yes, long balls to Moore/Anderson should be expected.

Using tight ends for blocking may be necessary, more satisfying would be Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas evolving into ninja-level receivers, if watching Greg Olsen tape can be converted to productive pattern running.

#7 – Year 3 of Rhule doesn’t make us Detroit

Detroit allowed Matt Millen to single-handedly wreck the franchise (31-97) over eight years as CEO/team president, a job his linebacking career didn’t prepare him for at all. GM Scott Fitterer doesn’t have such limitations, and he’s at the controls. The necessary help is mostly on the way. Colin Kaepernick, we’ll see how that rolls.

With all due respect to Matt Stafford for escaping 12 years of servitude in Detroit and using his super arm to take Rams to a winning Super Bowl – or the end of the Baker Mayfield run in Cleveland with Watson’s arrival – four years of sub-standard football is enough for Tepper (and fans). Yes, a $62MM coach should do better than 10-23, even if not having an inspirational QB or stud running back sounds legitimate.

That delay with new headquarters in Rock Hill aside, Mr. Tepper has staked out quite a few successful operations in his time as an owner. If Coach Rhule’s leadership of 2022 team is regarded as a serious mistake at Thanksgiving, that would be cause for specific change.

Weddings, return to office, Peter Millar ‘Make you a suit’ Guy pumping my micro-economy

Third house on Brandon Circle, across street from my apartment. #gshorkonsharonroadseam is a good-looking ‘hood to walk around.

Seven out of last nine days I’ve had a suit or tuxedo sale at Nordstrom’s, and coming out 40% over goal last pay period means there’s no need to change positive projections into March-May.

“Don’t make me put on the black hat…” (great accessory though it is)

Kicking effort to the max – no break, only two people in department, no suit sale competitors that Sunday pre-Valentines Day – and working a terrific split while helping a newbie salesperson with a tuxedo ordering-Hugo Boss suit-sport coat triple play, made a gooood difference in my micro-economy.

SERVICE continues to be my point of excellence, but having some luck always works. Manager pulled off a tuxedo transfer that Monday, which arrived for alterations on Tuesday! and customer picked up WEDNESDAY (a day earlier than promised). He and wife were thrilled, but until I watched Marquelle for 25 minutes on phone Monday, I only knew he’d accomplished it for me before.

Telling my client of his effort, and introducing him as part of the package-difference maker, is good team stuff. Derrick (the new guy) got congrats on first suit ($2600 total) from the customer’s wife, she said he could handle any situation now, her hubby being juuuust a little tough-demanding.

Luck isThe wife-to-be, who handed her guy an off the rack amazing fit of a 44L sport coat, is smile-worthy. Super-affirming to cut the tags off so he could wear it out of the store. (With shirt, $800)

Kyle, an exactly my size 42 Regular, who came in two minutes later, as they announced 15 minutes to store closing. He’d left his clothes for an event at home, wanted a black Ted Baker, which became a first shot ($895) perfect fit – he only needed the pants hemmed. Ready the next day, $0 to expedite it.

–Me, 3/1/22

The Peter Millar Guy

Emphasizing which designers have trimmer side cuts, “and Hugo Boss moves the arm holes down, allowing guys with size in shoulders and arms to be comfortable vs. squeezed” has become part of my introductory patter. #gshorkonsharonroadseam

The pastries and warm coffee for the 8:00 ‘Make you a suit’ session with long-time (45 years) suit guru Rich Biegel were okay, and he’s going to get some immediate business, because recently I’ve been seeing strange shaped guys who need such help.

Biegel gave Nordstrom’s suit people across the organization props for selling a high percentage of suits at full price, which he linked to the perception of service provided, both affirming. Although I wasn’t aware of how popular the line was early on, after months of exposure to sizing guys, differentiating the Millar line as what those who definitely don’t fit in ‘younger cuts’ suits like Baker and Boss feel comfortable in, is obvious now.

Emphasizing which designers have trimmer side cuts, “and Hugo Boss moves the arm holes down, allowing guys with size in shoulders and arms to be comfortable vs. squeezed” has become part of my introductory patter with those buying a suit. It demystifies the more or less question up front. Millar has that touch more size, beyond leanness taken out of Baker, and its a comfortable price point ($650 sport coats, now $895 suits). Canali’s are a clear price point difference ($2,095).

The obvious questions about the cost of such a garment and production delivery time seem reasonably good for special fits. If 25-30% over regular price and delivered in four weeks is to be believed, there’s someone whose shoulders fit in a 48 and the rest of him – that extra tire at belt level, and shorter than average arms – becomes a challenge I’m better prepared to discuss in future. If that someone wanted *several* suits made for him (not custom though), that could be a new layer of business for me.

Tailoring is what Mr. Biegel was essentially promoting, and appreciation for the six people at Nordstrom’s who are aces in the hole for a suit seller, is very real. Working with (or ignoring) certain physical elements makes a difference – while everyone has a small difference in shoulders, Rich recognized my right side was a whole inch lower (bike accident two years ago, I was ‘tore up’), and that would be incorporated in making a suit.

Answers to the obvious question about cost and delivery time for such a garment seemed reasonable. If 25% over regular price and delivered in four weeks is to be believed, I’m better prepared to discuss ‘making a suit’ with someone whose shoulders fit in a 48, but the rest is a challenge.

When your suit seller knows their business

Holding-helping clients put it on allows ‘seating’ a jacket to best advantage, instead of letting guys swing it overhead, shrugging into it, and doing The Hulk move. Smoothing shoulders can reveal forward lean of shoulder or arm positioning considerations for sleeve most never consider.

Checking the sleeve length (hint of shirt or onto hand), lapels (comfortable or tight in chest), at the button (absolutely), and ‘it covers your butt’ fills essential boxes – the rest is what mirrors, girlfriends, wives, Moms, and fiancees are for.

Lifestyle and safety

Saturday was a day without a suit sale, and losing several hours of possible production – after a gunshot in the mall caused a surge of fast-moving people through our store and closed the mall for an hour – was legitimate. We’ve been trained on getting people in department out the back way, and we cleared customers as expected.

The guard at Gucci not having a holster for his gun was the alleged problem, but not enough employees came back into store to run the registers, so we closed down.

I’m somewhat more concerned about a very real rise in the number of customers and co-workers who immediately stopped wearing masks when the North Carolina mandate expired. Its been a small comfort that it was store policy, given how numbers have risen every time that hasn’t been enforced for last two years. I won’t be wearing anything while cycling the greenway today either – never did.

Tonight will be a meeting of my Men’s Club, and next week’s annual Fish Fry (March 11, St. Gabriel School cafeteria) will be the focus. Our Lenten Fish Fry and our Christmas tree sale have been a legendary thing over 30 years, and this will be our third community event since Thanksgiving. Protocols and numbers sure, but this seems just a little more like what life used to be like.

With fingers crossed for some similar degree of ‘Normal,’ I’m also thankful for the opportunity to bring flowers to Mom for her 88th birthday on 3/1/22. This was first time we (brother Steve and wife, Mere) have been allowed to visit since Christmas.

Now #gshorkonsharonroadseam instead of City View, still smarter than one trick bear

Retail sales, Upwork boost micro-economy, ‘Officially old’ with Medicare, #gshorkonsharonroadseam is born

The Myers Park CC pickleball courts across the street on Sharon Rd., ‘The Seam of Charlotte’

After becoming a Medicare eligible “person of a certain age” last week, all previous Boomer attitudes are still locked in. I have no intention of quitting my blogging business and creative writing by arriving at sixty-five – I’ve got plenty of words left to twirl.

There’s some potential for a Russian invasion of Ukraine any minute, which piles an additional HOLY SHIT! situation onto the physical problems of an ongoing COVID disaster. I’m triple vaxxed, thank you, and those events are above my pay grade and outside my personal ability to affect.

Stephen Covey said keeping a better focus on things one can control – like my writing business – yields more desirable results than worrying about the 95% that will happen no matter how much you think or worry about them.

While checking in about many wild and scary political badnesses in these United States is both the job of a good citizen and tough to take at times, I’ve got my micro-economy to run. Odds are, at some point the sheer weight of evil done badly will take trump down, I’ll catch up to whatever news on that quickly I’m sure.

Retail, micro-economic POV

I posted my POVs on retail and economics regularly during seven years working for a major Southeastern retailer (Belk) during the Great Recession, I’ll now be using #gshorkonsharonroadseam while presenting my POV of retail economics in 2022. #gshorkonsharonroadseam is an intended word play, between my physical location in Charlotte and that personal job challenge of getting guys into good looking Ted Baker suits for allll the weddings we’ll be having in 2022.

These are usually the doldrums, and there’s barely any stock in back, but a backlog of weddings in America offers a near future payoff for Boss, Millar, Baker and Canali suit-selling in my 32 hour Nordstrom’s week. Get your suits in Southpark, guys!

Me, 2/01/22 #gshorkonsharonroadseam
Brother Steve had a small filet, but as Dad might have said, “That fine steak didn’t stand a chance.” I wish I’d owned a dog lucky enough to get that bone.

Having replanted my flag this time last year, I’ll give myself an Attaboy! for finally https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/01/18/smarter-than-average-bear-content-writing-boomer-replants-thought-leadership-flag-2021/ settling my housing situation well, after five moves between June-late October. Tip-toeing around homelessness for me, millions are still on the move, and not everyone has family that can help in these often tough times.

Going with brother Steve for a magnificent rib-eye at Capital Grille, with a bit of Tin Cup and watching the 49ers-Packers game later, I accepted being Officially Kinda Old on 01/22/22. Yes, it felt good to be out, and Capital Grille’s reputation is sterling by me. Pandemic-wise, they was FULL shortly after we arrived for 5:15 reservations.

A tenet of real estate training was DON’T TALK OLD or RETIRED WITH BOOMERS, most are Forever Young believers.

Cycling three mile laps on the Booty Loop in Charlotte just four blocks away, that’s part of an ongoing POV about a sixty-five year young mind-body working as well as I know how.

Boomer with Attitude, and Bias to Action

There’s some pride about getting an initial 3,600 words of synopsis going for my third book, ‘Betrayed with Cause: Scorch a Sister, Punish the Prince,’ and my New Years Eve purchase of the fantastically bright, fast, high quality DELL Inspiron 24 5000 has immediately improved my CDTalent Enterprises work rate. https://cdtalententerprises.com/a-writer-whos-smarter-than-average-bear/ That’s going to be a major difference maker in 2022.

Commenting on an unimportant factor outside my micro-economy, its absolutely Mr. Tepper’s money to spend if he’s willing to keep 10-23 Coach Matt Rhule as the coach of the Panthers for Year 3. There might be some buyers remorse for that $62 million contract – it can happen when said coach was sniffing about (no longer available) Michigan gig as a change – instead of playoff-level football that doesn’t include Panthers in NFC South – will be a very background concern for me.

How about a little love for the HORNETS though, Charlotte! Seventh place in East at 28-23, and Coach Borrega has a couple *players* worth watching in LaMelo Ball (19.5ppg, 7.7 asst), and forward Miles Bridges (20.2ppg). Hornets nailed 24-threes in Pacers game. https://www.indystar.com/picture-gallery/sports/nba/pacers/2022/01/31/pacers-give-up-franchise-record-158-points-loss-hornets/9281839002/

Production at a Premium

Fact: In two weeks, my retail schedule went from 39 hours a week to under 30 for several weeks. Retail blahs in January is a fact

Fact: I told people I hit for the cycle last Sunday: A $1000 suit, $600 car coat, $600 sport coat, and $400 fragrance buy – with barely six hours on the clock because the mall closed early. I need to have about $1,300 in sales in a seven hour shift to pay for myself versus ‘going in the hole,’ based on a $12.80/hr. draw. Those four sales would equal 13 hours draw.

Writers and actors are often advised to keep their day jobs, and beyond those anticipated weddings and suit sales, many buyers indicate its a back to work move. How many wore suits before the pandemic brings a legitimate “Who cares?” response – as long as the guys are enthused.

Working mostly afternoons through closing, my best morning hours are now blocked for writing production. That includes an Upwork account where pre-pandemic I’d gotten $35-40/sess. for tutoring reading and writing.

Fifth graders through juniors and seniors will especially need essay writing tutoring. This pandemic has screwed up the educational system, and reading-writing programs are dear to me. I’ve appreciated the seniors I’ve worked with through Communities in Schools (CIS) workshops about improving scholarship request writing.

I’m a terrific editor, and monetizing that long time skill by being Zoom savvy, tutor-assisting student essay writing, will contribute to both my passion and micro-economy.

– Me, 1/22/22, My mission statement for 2022, as #gshorkonsharonseam

I’m driving a top-flight, fully loaded DELL now, and with technology holes filled, my marketing and self-promotion will be considerably better.

Tweak the Assets, Work the Strengths

Service attitude is always a primary strength, both in retail and writing projects. Having couples try on 3-4-5 coats isn’t unusual when sizing, and guys pay attention with suits. What most dislike in regular clothes shopping is not knowing how many times they’ll have to take off-put on.

With suits, its all about them, one big task, make the effort and gain a significant reward. Focusing writing processes and editing generates a similar good suit confidence feeling for writing clients.

Serious buyers are ‘suiting up’ for internships and job interviews. Getting younger guys through the process without any mystery, mothers have thanked me for making it quick and painless in a totally good way, and chatting with Dads who remember first suits as important is always cool.

Frankly, our tailors at Nordstrom’s represent a huge resource for my productivity, by discussing what can or can’t be done with alterations, especially pants. Their pros and cons expertise is akin to bringing the lefty in to get a ground out in baseball, but always focuses the choices between designers and sizes. Any good salesperson, like me, should close a really high percentage when someone’s moved positively that far in the process.

When my manager put me into 42 Regulars to develop my knowledge base about suits, it felt like Money. After showing a younger client the sheen of blue with both a Hugo Boss and a lean Ken Baker, I cheered for the mother who recognized how much he reallllly liked picking the Baker.

–Me, about twice a week, and I’d like to think that becomes a reputation.

Will opportunities get better than SwedishBikiniTeam?

It doesn’t get any better than this! was an Old Milwaukee Beer commercial, circa 2014, but then came the Swedish Bikini Team! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c2NEFPqTwY

The Swedish Bikini Team is NOT what’s going to happen next if we can’t get a grip on the pandemic America, and I still have a micro-economy that I’m particularly interested in continuing to move forward. Bet you do, too.

Older and wiser activists that they are, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell offered their artistry in the drama that is Joe Rogan and COVID misinformation. Those artists were willing to lose the significant presentation of their musical contributions Spotify provides to get a bad thing to stop – MANY GOP officials can’t bear to consider doing anything similar. Neil Young’s music isn’t GONE, but if all of the hoo-hah! moved the needle on disinformation, and just maybe it did, more power to them.

I’m #gshorkonsharonseam now, Sharon Road instead of City View. Better location, same writing-editing business.

Vaxxed, check with a comma, threat of homeless handled well – a Great Suit Feel to end of 2021

From my porch this side of Sharon Road, ‘The Seam of Charlotte’, Southpark left behind at S.Wendover. Down a long, definite downhill and past the tennis -pickleball courts. That little left hook on the sign is for Chilton Ave., where homes on left border Myers Park CC. Keep right for more *very* nice homes on twisty-turnie Sharon to the church and Queens University.

Having recently been gladdened by a Thanksgiving gathering – and that commission check with a comma in it – there’s a genuine feeling of peace about important subjects in the title, especially that booster shot.

After getting enough ‘nothing they charge for’ support from the techs at YouBreakIFix to be back on a laptop and producing my first blog in three weeks, I left $20 for tech snacks anyway. I’m writing about thanks and gratitude as soon as possible.

The Great Suit Feel comes from my manager at Nordstrom’s getting me into 42 Regular suits with four of the designers we carry: Baker, Boss, Millar, Canali. I noted in a LinkedIn post that the easiest way to describe it was “It felt like Money.”

The Check with a Comma

I’m very okay with reflecting and enhancing the good cheer of this season, and yeah, I appreciate what Maverick called a target rich environment right now to work with – I was $5,000 (25%) over goal for first paycheck. Business cards and a significant online resource to track customers is part of the process.

I received half the promised $500 sign-on bonus in this weeks check, and Saturday I’ll invest in extending my wardrobe – the employee discount during ‘House Week’ is 30%. Nothing earth-shattering, but I had needs.

Fact: My micro-economy is definitely better, I have wardrobe budget!

I’m pretty good in 1-1 situations, helping people make buying decisions, and produce about $600/hr. I don’t typically get many returns either. My essential credo of customer service is sell it right. My writing and sales communications background has always relied on assembling facts, so walking a motivated looker through a ‘how about this, what else, and how much’ process that ends in a sale has always seemed natural.

Career salespeople and content writers know that getting all the lights green, and somebody signing something, is what has to happen to create Success. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2019/08/05/content-creation-client-needs-same-as-dating-info-to-righter-decisions/

Nordstrom’s is my first time back in retail since leaving another SouthPark Mall retailer across the parking lot seven years ago. I blogged about retail during those rugged times (2008-2014) – pssshhh, nothing Great about that Recession – and as a single guy without a mortgage, kids in school, or even a car payment, I still accumulated significant credit card debt. Bare bones 28 hrs. a week retail jobs meant lots of coworkers were taking from their futures to pay the bills.

Buddy Jack W. and I worked the Nautica line strong, and even during a Recession (2013-14) nearly always made their bonus levels. Although we seldom created the two credit card applications a week Belk management obsessively valued, I had enough bonus that January to – with a little bit of credit card – self-publish my first book.

On the run room, October 2021.

This September I submitted my second book in the Marlena the Magnificent line, https://www.wattpad.com/story/218725526-with-platinum-fury-focus/ while tip-toeing with homelessness between June and the end of October, when I landed in the terrific location described at the top. Here is what I’m calling ‘The Seam,’ with a literary nod to my suit selling.

Having suit-buying customers see I’m well put together-being stylish means I’m wearing suits and ties again for the first time in years.

SUITS is where the action is in Men’s Furnishings. Just yesterday a load of those good suits showed up, and the velvet tuxedo jackets are $725 (“Yes, Mr. McDaniel, you were right on the money about 40 short…”), and those asking about black Canali suits ($1800) is consistent – I’ve talked about it numerous times in two weeks.

Laughably (almost) is fact many guys are still showing up three days before major events and requiring emergency measures. While $$$ can expedite anything, point is people are planning on formal occasions and dressing up for it.

Its a pleasure to talk with those who know what they actually want, and I’m now comfortable with the returns and alterations functions. Even compared to being a WFH (work from home) person for essentially two-plus years, I feel safe there. Corporate culture has all employees masked, as are vast majority of customers, and I’m never bum-rushed by a dozen people all day like maybe Walmart.

Customer Satisfaction

I’ll save my favorite story about our Team Selling of Mr. Martin’s suit (Nordstrom’s has a button for splits), and my first suit sale included a GREAT job with alterations, but coming back with a promised article (I always say “8 of 9 yesterday”), creates customer anticipation and brings a smile when its presented.

The relief one Mom got from one of the tailors was cool. She’d been a little tense about her HS football guy in Ted Baker pants wanting to show a little ankle, and the tailor’s “I’m not cutting anything, we can always change it back” was the whew! she needed.

Getting my secretary back

Having recently referenced Jim Croce regarding work conditions, https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/11/01/croces-carwash-blues-is-an-anthem-for-american-workers-in-2021/ that he “should be smoking on a big cigar, talkin’ some some trash to a secretary…” well my secretary is a 200-plus year old, honey brown upright heirloom that two brothers are hopefully shipping to me for Christmas. (How about that Oriental rug Mom was so fond of too, for my wood floors…)

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It had to go north with brother Dave in early May, because I didn’t have a plan for an important heirloom when I was starting a five-moves-in-five-months odyssey in mid-June, and nobody wanted it to wind up by the side of the road,

More than just furniture, that secretary means reclaiming a psychological asset and another positive uptick to current lifestyle. I was never sure I’d see it again once it was on the truck,

2021’s been that kind of year, plenty of angst, starting out lousy enough with the January 6 Insurrection so many wondered how anyone could slow the train wreck of political considerations and deadly COVID concerns. There was a real powering up on vaccination front, and being Officially ‘immunized’ in mid-March instead of late May, I still put that under customer satisfaction delivered by Biden administration.

(Closer to) Normal is Good

FINALLY – Last year was the first time in 35 years our community group didn’t sell Christmas trees, so getting ahold of 350 and selling out in nine days really put us back on track. (Sigh) The absolute JOY of three young brothers, those energetic little guys rolling down a small hill – wow! Unquestioned tree hugging fun, and pretty damn close to Life as Normal, y’know? It brought a wave of good memories, years of ‘us four guys’ looking for a tree expeditions, cutting and tying onto our station wagon’s top.

$5 any tree back then! plentiful snowball throwing, “Here’s a good one!” and all the rest that decorating entailed.

The Good Suit Feeling as life in my micro-economy, things DO feel a lot better than even forty days ago, and I’m not alone on making positive changes. I’m better positioned on ‘The Seam of Charlotte,’ have improved personal lifestyle and economics – clothes and computer, about $500 each – will be small testaments to progress. I am safe by all applicable standards, and am willing-able to socialize.

I also believe its okay to give the guy walking the traffic median $2 any time of year.

Umpiring a Fall of American Family Baseball, It was often an Honor to Participate

Taking a foul tip in the collarbone is the worst. My equipment being a little loose almost cost me.

The shortage of certain people in many areas extended to umpiring, and when an ex-umpire mentioned at our monthly meeting about possibilities for anyone with experience, I started doing Little League games in Dilworth the next Wednesday.

I’ve done arc-pitch softball in FL and NY years ago, working with youth baseball has been super interesting because of the intense family aspect.

One recent assignment involved a second Blue, who I’d done my first game ever with. He reminded me about trying to get changed into shinpads in my car without undressing – I finally gave up, and did the game with the plastic over the pants. (Not a good look, not repeated)

I’ve put in some 14 hour days since, worked two weekends with blast furnace 96! temperatures, and taken my share of ‘meat shots,’ and umpiring is more than just a welcome cash cow. With about 20 hours game time, $40-50 per game averages $20/hr. with a much more exciting office. It’s fun, not a gripe.

Getting the mask relocated by a foul tip, my standard line is, “I don’t get up for breakfast if I don’t know I’m gonna get hit a couple times.”

Me, a couple times a day while umpiring.
Everybody has a back pack, usually with a pair of antenna-bats.

7 Innings of a Blue’s ‘tudes, Calling it as I See It

Chatting with people near the fence about the difference in early sunshine and cool Fall temperatures this past weekend, compared to the blast furnace 96 I’d done one of their teams games in early June, one Dad’s immediate response was, “Yessir, I remember you – you gave my son some great advice. Thank you,”

That advice involved him twiddling with the grip on his pitch – which all the younger pitchers with small hands do – even while he was going into his delivery. My point was, when you work to get a certain grip, that’s usually a signal – especially if other team has seen the results before – your ‘something different’ pitch is coming.

When you throw it for strikes, the question is, can they actually HIT it while knowing? If not, take your time, set yourself and grip, *then* throw the pitch was my sage counsel.

The umpire schedule organizers tried to tell me early not to chat with the crowd “because one bad call and they’ll turn on you,” but I’ve always been a yakker, so…

My attitude is I’m contributing a little something to the American lifestyle, not just judging balls-strikes-outs. Telling that pitcher, or a first base person to make sure they keep heel in contact with the bag, it seems to make a difference.

Yes, I’ve been surprised at overall support on a regular basis. That so many coaches swear they tell young charges not to question the umpires (You’re right, Hayden, that was too good a pitch not to call a strike, but…), is affirming a rule of order.

2nd Inning

Pregame, I regularly mention players asking for time out and stepping out of the batters box with coaches and dugouts. It’s often coaches trying to break a pitcher’s rhythm, and my sense of sportmanship extends to fact if he’s ready to go, you better be ready to hit. I am not going to grant time very often, and have called three balks resulting in two runs scoring from third.

While batters stepped out without permission, seeing them do so caused the pitcher to stop his motion, and if they don’t release the pitch, its a balk. Its unfair to the pitcher, and letting young minds know how I enforce it (and the high strike) is a good piece of info to put out there. Armpits to knees, yes, use that bat.

I’m willing to listen to a coach appeal a play, say, where several runners wind up after an infield fly pop-up gets dropped (they can run at their own risk). Do NOT keep going on an individual call, coach. Catcher, do NOT pose with a ball that’s over the other batters box line wanting a strike – nothing good will come from you trying to show me up like that. I’ll tell you that, once.

3rd Inning

I was only threatened one time by a spectator, and only once did I get fed up enough to have coaches confined to the dugout. That I could say, “Zip it, or see the game from further away,” and enforce it was a great tool to know was in my bag. That I restored the previous freedoms in the next (title) game was still about fairness.

Having a catcher ask why I’d called a recent pitch a ball, 10 year olds wouldn’t have the stones to ask that if they hadn’t seen coaches question every situation for three full games. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/06/29/america-and-family-baseball-joyful-4th-is-umpires-call/ I’ve told that story numerous times, and that *specifically* wasn’t happening on MY watch. Adults need some telling where the lines are too.

4th Inning

The single best thing an umpire can have is consistency, and high-low is easier for others to see than any distance off the plate. That’s why catchers are taught from earliest exposure about framing pitches, making them look closer to the strike zone. “How could that not be a strike?” is the crowd question, what I tell catchers regularly is “I saw where you caught it, and I saw where you put it.”

Doing a 9 year old tournament, where many were doing kid-pitch for the first time, my off the plate (17″) calls of two balls wider wound up taking 2:30 hours to have a victor. Calling it unhittably further outside was unfair, but walk-athons are deadly.

It was the single most brutal five games I umped all year. I had 8-9 bottles of water, a couple Gatorades, and still didn’t need to relieve myself until 9:00 at night. I told a nurse about it the next day, she said I was lucky she didn’t meet me in an ER.

5th Inning

Except for that one bitchy team (plus two other yellers), I was uniformly impressed with how dedicated coaches are to keeping kids in the game. Arriving early and having time to jaw with them is personally satisfying. That Dad and Coach sometimes have to deal with situations around a pouty son is reality. Listen to the constant barrage about hitting the next pitch, or what to do about a passed ball (“You should be here!”) at a game – coaches keep it going even in a rout.

When there was a question of not having enough time left to start another inning and get the home team last at bats, you’ve gotta love the answer: “So we get to practice our defense another half inning? Its our first game of the season, its okay if we don’t get to bat.”

That’s taking every opportunity to help kids get better. If I can help with an observation – “Your catcher is setting up on the outside third of plate, and if your pitcher misses at all, its going to be a ball” – I can be a difference maker too.

6th Inning

After taking two foul tips on the exact same spot on top of forearm one weekend, I changed how I positioned myself from hands on knees to always having the batter side arm tucked behind myself. Plastic only covers so much, then there’s meat shots. Making necessary changes to protect myself (I was also a hockey goalie in college…) was a no brainer.

There’s usually an Oooo! and “You okay Blue?” from the crowd and coaches when they hear the crack! of a chest protector or see the face mask get rearranged. Its more the blast in the bicep or maybe a hand that changes your machismo for a while.

As a physical challenge at 64, I feel good about an occasional thwack! I’m certainly not too good to think ringing the register with a $350 weekend, while talking baseball and peoples kids, is a bad thing in any way. The hard core travel teams are miles from the rec league supporters, most of whom recognize their kids might get pummeled for a season before age and experience kicks in.

7th inning

Yes, its seeing athletics as part of their young lives, getting to relate to some of that bonding and what’s happening between the ears I knew was important when I played Pop Warner football. Doing 10-under games, then 12-13s, the physical difference of two-three years is amazing.

The chunky 10 y/old who just learned a curve ball that week thought, “Maybe we should have a go, Ump.” I said, “Learned a curve ball this week and you want some of this? You must be a confident guy.” “Yep!”

The best way for an umpire to avoid 95% of any coach or crowd BS is to be right on top of the play versus calling it from across the diamond. The kid sliding into third and his coach yells he’s safe, my “Coach, he’s got the glove pinned against the base, he’s out!” means I just turn and walk away.

On a bottom line, “Don’t reward stupid” is legitimate. The slow-footed kid who tries going first to third when there’s a confusing play at the plate almost always deservedly, gets nailed at third, and if its close, he really shouldn’t have been going… Their coach will talk to them about a bad decision.

Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves for winning the World Series so convincingly. Everyone in Charlotte was rooting for them, all the young players for sure, and they epitomize the idea of sportsmanship and the bonding that makes a bunch of young people a team. See everyone again in the Spring.