The Roaring 20’s

An exerpt from “Delancey Place

In todays excerpt the Roaring 1920s brought a boom in cigarette smoking. U.S. cigarette production doubled during the decade as people hungered for sophistication, and as Prohibition, which had unintentionally increased alcohol consumption, increased cigarette smoking along with it:

“New issues of securities of industrial companies would increase from 690 [in 1924] to nearly 2,000 in 1929. Brokers’ loans to investors and share ownership would quadruple by 1929. The number of Americans who paid tax on income of a million dollars a year also would quadruple.

“The new optimism about the future led to a boom in consumer spending. Radio sales doubled in 1923, then tripled in 1924. On average, nearly every family had a car, and drivers were branching out from black Model Ts to an assortment of new makes in colors ranging from ‘Florentine cream’ to ‘Versailles violet.’ Average people bought items they hadn’t imagined spending money on just a few years earlier: from Listerine mouthwash and crossword puzzle books to vacuum cleaners and meat slicers to new golf clubs and even property in Florida.

“Prosperity changed the culture. Suddenly there were traffic lights, filling stations, and new concrete highways with chicken dinner restaurants and tourist rest stops. Giant broadcast radio stations with nationwide hookups brought Graham McNamee’s play-by-play or the Happiness Boys or reports on the Scopes Monkey Trial into more than one out of three homes. More Americans followed politics now, including the presidential nominating convention, which was covered live from Madison Square Garden. …

“Along with America’s new wealth came a hunger for sophistication. College applications spiked, as did international travel. The most popular nonfiction books included Outline of Science, The Story of Philosophy, Why We Behave Like Human Beings, and Emily Post’s Book of Etiquette (the top seller). The now-literary-minded masses read an astonishing rush of new novels during this period: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, Franz Kafka’s The Trial, and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Newly minted intellectuals tried to parse James Joyce’s Ulysses or T S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. New fans of the arts listened to George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and saw plays by Eugene O’Neill, who won three Pulitzer Prizes during the 1920s.

“One sure way for both men and women to appear sophisticated was to smoke cigarettes. Advertisers depicted pretty girls, cigarettes in hand, imploring men to blow smoke their way. Tobacco manufacturers announced that ‘now women may enjoy a companionable smoke with their husbands and brothers.’ Women had earned the vote and entered the work force, now millions of women of all ages exercised their right to take up smoking. Blue tobacco smoke wafted through theater lobbies, where Greta Garbo’s most important silent movies – Flesh and the Devil, The Temptress, The Torrent, and Love – appeared in 1926 and 1927, just as talking movies debuted. Sports fans smoked as they watched Babe Ruth, also a smoker, hit sixty home runs in 1927 for the New York Yankees; his teammates, known as ‘Murderers’ Row,’ easily smoked their way through the World Series that year. Prohibition also fueled smoking, just as it increased illegal alcohol consumption. The more people drank, the more they craved a smoke. …

“During the decade prior to 1929, U.S. cigarette production doubled.”

Frank Partnoy, The Match King, Public Affairs, Copyright 2009 by Frank Partnoy, pp. 91-93.

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Published in: on February 19, 2010 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Today’s Business Leaders

Excerpt from Delancey Place

In today’s encore excerpt – writing in the late 1990s, Quinn Spitzer and Ron Evans contrast the business leaders of the immediate post-World War II period to more contemporary businesses leaders raised on a steady diet of business publications, management books, MBAs and consultants:

“During the 1990s virtually an entire generation of top executives left their businesses, retired, or passed away. Many of these executives had achieved legendary status – [David] Packard at Hewlett-Packard, [Akio] Morita at Sony, [Sir John Harvey-] Jones at ICI, [Sam] Walton at Wal-Mart, and [Jan] Carlzon at SAS, to name a few. These leaders shared some notable characteristics that differentiate them from their successors. They lived through the Great Depression, which crippled the world’s economy in the 1930s; they experienced the horrors of World War II; they served their business apprenticeships in the postwar rebuilding period of the late 1940s and early 1950s. But what may differentiate them most from their counterparts of today is the issue of management.This ‘old guard’ was the last of a breed of executives who developed their management skills almost entirely in the workplace. They were building businesses while management ‘science’ – if it can be called that – was still in its infancy.

“In 1948 … the Harvard Business Review had a robust circulation of fifteen thousand. That number had reached nearly two hundred fifty thousand by the mid 1990s. The Harvard Business School itself and the few other graduate business schools in existence in 1948 awarded 3,357 MBAs – a far cry from the 75,000 MBAs awarded forty-five years later. Even McKinsey, the best known of consulting companies, was a relatively small firm with annual revenues of under $2 million, compared with 1994 revenues of more than $1.2 billion. Management guru Peter Drucker was a youngster of thirty-nine. Seven-year-old Tom Peters was probably ‘in search of’ a new bike.

“The executives of [the immediate post-war] period were not uneducated – in fact, many were extremely well educated – but they did not learn their approach to business from a business school, a management expert, a celebrated management book, or an outside consultant. Options such as these were not generally available. These executives learned their business skills in the industrial jungle. …

“The forty-year-old executive of the 1990s, by contrast, probably holds one of the tens of thousands of MBAs awarded each year. His formal management education is supplemented by dozens of business periodicals and hundreds of management books. If, however, a situation seems resistant to even this mass of management wisdom, there are several hundred consulting firms and more than a hundred thousand consultants ready to provide additional management skill and knowledge. In 1993 businesses around the world spent $17 billion for consultants’ recommendations, and AT&T alone lavished $347.1 million on outside expertise.

“That does not necessarily mean that the business executives of the past were superior to those of the present. … Still, we suspect that if those [managers] of years gone by found themselves at the helm of any of today’s extraordinarily complex and competitive business enterprises, they would steer a straight and successful course.”

Quinn Spitzer and Ron Evans, Heads You Win!, Fireside, Simon and Schuster, Copyright 1997 by Kepner-Tregoe, Inc., pp. 15-17.

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Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Five Causes of Prohibition

From Delancey Place: http://www.delanceyplace.com

In today’s excerpt – after World War I, a national prohibition against alcoholic beverages was enacted in both the United States and Canada. This prohibition, however, led to a dramatic increase in alcohol consumption and the rise of large-scale criminal organizations to support it. Why was it that prohibition was enacted?:

“How [Prohibition] came about can be boiled down to about five causes:

1) The First World War.
2) The new authority of women.
3) A half-century of campaigning by church leaders, politicians, evangelists and women’s groups.
4) The existing moral climate of the time.
5) Rural paranoia about urban intrusion.

“Most blame the First World War, which had a tremendous influence upon the eventual passage of legislation that took away a person’s freedom to drink. During the war, both the U.S. and Canada, as already stated, enacted laws that set the groundwork for full bans on liquor and beer. It was believed that money should be diverted from liquor to ‘war fitness.’ … The moral climate in the U.S. brought on by the war permitted the easy passage of the Volstead Act (Prohibition). …

“Another wartime condition that aided Prohibitionists in both the U.S. and Canada was the new authority of women. Before and during the war, women found voice in numbers. They banded together in [temperance] groups. Women had also acquired far more responsibility during this time, as they were forced to fend for themselves during the war, to find work and feed their families while their husbands were fighting in the trenches overseas. … More importantly, during this period women won the right to vote in elections.

“The half-century of campaigning by groups like the Anti-Saloon League (U.S.) contributed perhaps more than any other factor in generating support for Prohibition. By the early 1900s in the U.S., the great temperance leaders ordered their forces to use any means necessary to shut down the saloons – even hatchets if necessary. The Bible and hatchet-carrying Carry Nation and her male counterpart, the iron-fisted Dr. Howard Russell, were the most popular of the U.S. temperance leaders. …

“This Prohibitionary craze may seem unfathomable out of context but, on closer examination, the period up until 1920 was dominated by prohibitions – on clothing, behavior and even food. In Ontario, especially, the straight-laced Protestant ethic dictated an exclusive code of conduct. It was strictly forbidden in 1919, for example, to purchase a cigar, an ice cream cone, a newspaper or anything vaguely frivolous on a Sunday. And playing sports of any kind was absolutely banned on the Lord’s Day. In Michigan, as an extreme example, it was considered a crime for women to wear high-heeled shoes. In such a world a ban on intoxicating beverages did not seem so out of place.

“In addition to all of these factors, the farmer was regarded as the silent partner of the Prohibition movement. The Prohibitionists relied upon the farmer to cast his ballot against the evils of drunkenness and sloth, which he viewed from the safety of his front veranda in he remote and serene countryside as something distinctly urban. The Farmer’s Sun told farmers what they already knew – that their rural sanctuary could only be ensured if they voted to bring cities and towns under the umbrella of Prohibition.”

Marty Gervais, The Rumrunners, Biblioasis, Copyright 1980, 2009 by Marty Gervais, pp. 14-18.

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Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 11:56 am  Comments (4)  
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The Most Quoted Figure In Sports

Yogi Berra Quotes

Yogi Berra’s second claim to fame is for being one of the most quoted figures in the sports world. He is credited with coining the deceptively simplistic observation, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” But he’s also known for his flubs. Here is a collection of the most notorious of these.

“This is like deja vu all over again.”

“You can observe a lot just by watching.”

“He must have made that before he died.” — Referring to a Steve McQueen
movie.

“I want to thank you for making this day necessary.” — On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day in St. Louis in 1947.

“I’d find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I’d return it.” — When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.

“Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?”

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

“I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early.”

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”

“If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”

“Baseball is 90% mental — the other half is physical.”

“It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.”

“Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting.”

“A nickel isn’t worth a dime today.”

“Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

“It gets late early out there.” — Referring to the bad sun conditions in left field at the stadium.

“Glen Cove.” — Referring to Glenn Close on a movie review television show.
Once, Yogi’s wife Carmen asked, “Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?” Yogi replied, “Surprise me.”

“Do you mean now?” — When asked for the time.

“I take a two hour nap, from one o’clock to four.”

“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

“You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn’t enough in the second half you give what’s left.”

“90% of the putts that are short don’t go in.”

“I made a wrong mistake.”

“Texas has a lot of electrical votes.” — During an election campaign, after George Bush stated that Texas was important to the election.

“Thanks, you don’t look so hot yourself.” — After being told he looked cool.

“I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.”

“Yeah, but we’re making great time!” — In reply to “Hey Yogi, I think we’re lost.”

“If the fans don’t come out to the ball park, you can’t stop them.”

“Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel.”

“It’s never happened in the World Series competition, and it still hasn’t.”

“How long have you known me, Jack? And you still don’t know how to spell my
name.” — Upon receiving a check from Jack Buck made out to “bearer.”

“I’d say he’s done more than that.” — When asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded expectations for the current season.

“The other teams could make trouble for us if they win.”

“He can run anytime he wants. I’m giving him the red light.” — On the acquisition of fleet Ricky Henderson.

“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”

“It ain’t the heat; it’s the humility.”

“The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”

“You should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST!

“I didn’t really say everything I said.”

Published in: on February 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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