Previously...

12/21–The Interview: One-on-One with Kim Jong-un

8/3–VIDEO: Has time run out for Laskin?

3/16–VIDEO: G-rated list of 5 reasons to hire older workers

1/30–VIDEO: I'm Scheduled to Die August 1, 2014

11/19–VIDEO: In which Mr. Laskin takes on Mr. Lincoln

11/2–VIDEO: Rapp Story redux -- an explanation of sorts

10/21–VIDEO: The Rapp Story

9/12–VIDEO: The scariest profession in the world. Really?

7/4–VIDEO: Finally, a movie review without ever seeing the movie

4/18–VIDEO: The 7 words George Carlin would never have used

2/28–VIDEO: Sequester that credit card!

1/16–VIDEO: Don gets the word

10/31–The day social media died

8/6–VIDEO: The secret to viral videos

5/31–We all agree on this, right?

4/5–What's stealing? Really? Me? Shirley, you jest

1/19–VIDEO: The other Goldilocks story

12/11–VIDEO: Accomplishments? Or credentials?

11/7–VIDEO: A few minutes with Don Laskin on Andy Rooney

9/11–VIDEO: The hidden meaning of printer ink expiration dates

8/3–VIDEO: I am a Negro

5/24–VIDEO: It’s the end of the world as we know it

4/11–VIDEO: Return of the Avatar – with handy tips for finding a job

2/28–VIDEO: Laskin names names

2/10–VIDEO: Return of blower man

2/8–VIDEO: The threat of hippos -- and leaf blowers

1/11–VIDEO: Don as you've never seen him before

11/8–AUDIO: Hating the rich. Well, some of them, at least

10/17–VIDEO: He's not sleeping, he's making an important decision

10/1–What Amelia Earhart has to do with marketing management

8/25–AUDIO: The Mosque Ox

8/23–AUDIO: Why Meg Whitman needs to talk with Don en espanol

7/12–VIDEO: Don Laskin gets a spokes-thing

6/21–VIDEO: Why webinars are a waste of time

6/1–VIDEO: Has Don sold his soul to the Devil?

5/23–VIDEO: A message to, well, you know who you are

5/14–VIDEO: Twit, Tweet, Twitter?

5/5–Don unloads on Google

2/24–The sweatsuit answer to Kaiser, or Medicare Part The Deux

2/16–What's wrong with Kaiser?

12/4–What’s as rare as a Raiders touchdown? Laskin knows

10/19–Why Dave prefers vanilla

10/1–God's will -- and other reasons

8/17–AUDIO: Hierarchy of stupid

5/25–AUDIO: Some calm words about a world in PANIC!!

4/28–AUDIO: Why CEOs can ignore everything – except Facebook

4/6–With friends like these…

1/19–When perception is reality -- except when it isn't

12/9–AUDIO: Chased by the devil

10/29–AUDIO: Sine qua non a rant it would not be Don

10/20–AUDIO: Joe the writer, er, Don

10/2–AUDIO: Perp Walk Inc.

2/25–AUDIO: Why people put up with crummy jobs

2/10–AUDIO: Making clients money with advertising

1/2–Tiny weiners on toothpicks

12/19–AUDIO: Don improves with age, he says

12/6–AUDIO: Why telecommuting gardeners are needed

10/1–Don Laskin – Almost human?

7/8–Counting, if not connecting, the dots

5/3–Is your advertising stuck in a silo? So is Don

2/5–It's deja vu all over again for Don

9/10–Observations: Laskin faced end with courage

7/14–Observations Why Don Laskin’s ex-boss hiked up her skirt

6/16–Observations They're baaaack! And don't say you weren't warned

4/28–Be careful what you wish for

4/17–Did somebody just say something?

3/8–Laskin makes his first annual “Moron of the Month” Award*

2/15–Our man Laskin reports from a UFO

1/30–Laskin pioneers podcast idea

1/11–Veteran podcaster Don Laskin offers advice

1/3–The Logic of Illogic (Part 2)

12/16–Festivus greetings

11/15–An easy death

8/22–Autistic Cows

8/3–No

7/14–Making a Better Than Human Human

7/4–A tool of capitalism

6/26–Position Heal thyself. -- Plus: Useful information. For real. No kidding

6/25–Life is Like a box of chocolates with no “i” in team

5/15–A $1,000 fine and five days in jail

4/23–Is spending money on advertising a waste?

LETTERS FROM LASKIN

PREMIUM CONTENT

No

by Don Laskin
August 3, 2005

It was the eighth grade. Mr. Rutz was the teacher. Eighteen years separated my oldest brother and me. Mr. Rutz taught him, my middle brother and now it was my turn. If there’s anything to alliteration, Rutz personified it. He was as nasty as his name (Rutz rhymed with guts) sounded. Mr. Rutz was walking sarcasm. Hobbling sarcasm actually. He used two heavy metal forearm crutches and dragged his legs, which were encased in braces, along behind, swinging them side to side to propel himself up stairs one at a time. And, in those days, crutches were crutches and braces were braces and heavy was really heavy. Perhaps his affliction and the pain that went with it were the reasons for his unabated putdowns. But, whatever the reasons, age did not mellow him and warmth was not a trait he exhibited except for one brief, fleeting moment when he surprised me by asking after my father who was gravely ill.

Mr. Rutz was a hard man to forget. However one thing he said made a special impact on me. Even after all these years, I can hear him offering up this wisdom. We’d just gotten our math tests back. I don’t remember what mark I got, but I’d venture to say the Titanic’s captain got a higher score for seamanship after hitting the iceberg. Anyway, after everyone had his test in hand Mr. Rutz turned to the class and hissed, “Cream rises to the top and scum sinks to the bottom.” So there I was on the bottom with the Titanic and the other bottom feeders.

Cream always rises to the top, eh? Maybe in Canada where they say “eh.” But, this ain’t Canada. In the USA, where gays can get married, but not to each other, where drug companies are thankfully permitted to at least make a small profit for all their hard work, and where a talent may occasionally get outed, talent doesn’t necessarily out. Around here, a sixty-year-old waiter – server may be politically correct, but waiter carries more clout (not to mention dishes) – is waiting (another reason waiter works better) for his big break in Hollywood. The old cabbie? He ain’t just waitin’ for the light to change. He’s waiting for his shot center stage at the Met singing lead tenor in Pagliacci. And what about the old lady with all those cats, who never goes out, has the shades drawn against any hint of sunlight, believes Rush Limbaugh is the voice of God and enjoys talking to telemarketers? Okay, well she’s just nuts.

But, is every one of those thousands and thousands (and thousands) of cab drivers, dog walkers, servers and temps who keep writing screen plays and auditioning and painting and inventing a no-talent disillusioned, crazed dreamer? For argument’s sake, let’s suppose ninety-nine out of a hundred -- or even as many as nine out of ten -- don’t know their limitations or, to paraphrase a phrase from the US Army, are “letting their alligator mouths overload their hummingbird asses.” What remains are thousands of extremely talented individuals who never had, and will never have, tasted a crumb of success from the table that has all those platters piled high with success and before the main course there were hors d'oeuvres with these little wieners stuffed with success and served by waiters waiting for….uh, success. Or maybe a sentence with a period.

Anyway, there are lots of people who are awfully, awfully good at what they do, who are destined never to catch a break. Catch Comedy Central if you need proof. Funny, polished, clever and witty comedian follows funny, polished, clever and witty comedian. So, what have Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Chris Rock or any Wayans’ brother got that these comedians haven’t? Serious money.

May I submit then that cream rising to the top may have more to do with circumstance than hydrodynamics or gravity. What if George W. Bush had been running against JF Kennedy instead of JF Kerry? Of course, Mr. Bush would’ve been fifteen at the time, but that aside, the likelihood is Mr. Bush would still be chief executive of an obscure state located somewhere between Oklahoma and the Mexican border.

Al Jolson, who among his many accomplishments, starred in the world’s first all-talking picture, The Jazz Singer, is today more than seventy-five years later still called “The World’s Greatest Entertainer.” Done in blackface, how successful do you think his mega-hit “...Mammy” would be on MTV? Even if he dropped the burnt cork, went PC and did a rap version, do you think he could even claim the title, “Peoria’s Greatest Entertainer?”

Josh Gibson. Legend has it he was the only man ever to hit a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium. Fact has it he hit almost 800 home runs. Were he playing baseball today or were he white when he did play, he’d be as famous as Babe Ruth. Cream always rises to the top?

Finally take the case of Eeglurg Rokstonik-Ugh. Chances are if you’re a baseball fan, you’ve at least heard of Josh Gibson. Eeglurg Rokstonik-Ugh was a complete unknown to contemporaries. And, if it’s possible, today his name means even less -- though his accomplishments were of near mythic proportions. Some might be surprised because Eeglurg Rokstonik-Ugh had everything going for him. He had movie-star good looks. His athleticism was unmatched. And, his IQ couldn’t even be charted. It was that high.

But, talented as Eeglurg was, he never had the opportunity to become a captain of industry, a star quarterback or renowned actor. He never had his chance. Eeglurg Rokstonik-Ugh, inventor of the wheel and discoverer of fire, died penniless and alone never ever having heard the word “YES.”

=======

Don Laskin is a veteran of the advertising and public relations jungle where he really has heard the word "yes" -- at least from time to time. Reach him at lonewriter@comcast.net. Or give him a call at (408) 406-3574.












  • How to compete against Wal-Mart
  • Stockton mom turns a need into a business
  • The entrepreneur is in
  • Writing her own success story
  • Growing a small business the family way
  • The future pencils positive for this company
  • Niche marketing -- Italian style
  • Sipping success with niche marketing
  • Roasting a business out of his passion
  • Success as an independent consultant takes more than expertise
  • Avoiding the traps of employee law violations
  • Cracking the voice-over market
  • The American Dream realized, one package at a time
  • Female winemaker plunges into business
  • A new take on nurse education
  • Family sees moving business success
  • STEM thrives in pockets of education innovation
  • STEM goes solar in Stockton
  • Quick! There’s a robot in my pool
  • Retiring seniors can mean new business
  • Predawn biotech class trains next generation of science workers
  • Staying ahead of the competition the old fashioned way
  • Central Valley sees mismatch between high-tech jobs and job seekers
  • STEM starts young
  • Get ready – the future is here now
  • STEM Education: Growing the Valley's Future
  • They’re low power in wattage only, not ideas
  • Thinking success spawns Successful Thinkers
  • Small business success can mean finding the right niche
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Getting the scoop on small business success
  • Reshoring could rebuild America's manufacturing
  • Marketing that’s deliberately anchored to the past
  • Guitar artist plays his way to success
  • Paralysis no handicap for this entrepreneur
  • Boost sales with better communication
  • Making sandwiches sexy with a franchise
  • Going solar without spending a lot of money
  • They’re cute and cuddly. But are they a business?
  • Opportunity sails forth in the Delta
  • How bad etiquette on the job could kill your career
  • Growing their way out of hunger and poverty
  • Finding small business success from floor to ceiling
  • Why he’s public enemy #1 – for gophers
  • Running a home-based business successfully
  • Your boss needs a vacation – really
  • Couple makes transition from big corporations to small business
  • Carving a small business niche with a better idea
  • Calm is the goal of computer service and education franchisor
  • Developer squeezing new life into downtown with juice franchise
  • Signs of a recovering economy
  • How to keep a family business in the family
  • Ford dealership expands despite the Great Recession
  • Utility Telephone connects with customer service
  • Crowdfunding basics
  • The roar from crowdfunding is getting louder
  • California water wars’ bulldog
  • Water wars heat up in California
  • Helping businesses grow with a stronger STEM
  • How to retain your best employees
  • Small business runs success up the pole
  • Winery expands in Lodi
  • Lodi wineries tapping into growing Chinese market
  • Has the jobs picture brightened for the Valley for 2012?
  • The right education will be needed for 21st Century jobs
  • Where new jobs for San Joaquin will come from
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin – Part 2
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin
  • Fruits of his labor
  • Helping grow food security in the Valley of plenty
  • Doing a business turnaround despite the recession
  • Keeping customers loyal helps build her business
  • Expo exposes businesses to utility contracting ideas
  • Drink mix maker taps expertise to blend success
  • Entrepreneur finds success in a basket
  • Tips for catching resume fraud
  • There’s no checking out for this small business owner
  • Entrepreneurs take Valley sports play-by-play to the world
  • Starting a winery from scratch
  • Job hunting tips for the long-term unemployed
  • In the Central Valley, opera isn’t always the Grand Ole Opry
  • Branding ideas for small businesses
  • The ump’s not blind, but the players are
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way - Part Two
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way
  • Machines talking to machines is the future
  • Getting involved in the fight against AIDS
  • Franchised divorce says it’s a better way
  • Small business owner is brewing a success story
  • To beat the Great Recession, they’ve expanded
  • Taking a swing at strokes
  • Alert your taste buds – here comes Taste of San Joaquin
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Passion for his city drives him
  • Vicente Fox speaks out on U.S.-Mexico relations
  • Give your support staff recognition and reap top performance
  • Central Valley baker gets top honors for Royal Wedding pie
  • Asparagus Festival ends on high note
  • Stockton close to annual ‘tipping’ point
  • Framing small business success
  • Small business sees Affordable Care Act helping its bottom line
  • What you eat – and when – helps local restaurants
  • Coping with the aftermath of foreclosure
  • How to raise charming children
  • Central Valley grad school goes all-iPads
  • Solution to Delta water wars voiced
  • Making sure your personal bottom line is covered
  • Small California winemaker is all family
  • Small winery relies on family and innovation to compete
  • Central Valley company says it has a better way to store solar power
  • What’s wrong -- and right -- about local TV news
  • What planning means to small business success
  • Making the leap to small business
  • Out of work at middle age? Experts offer advice
  • Small business marketing, one article at a time
  • Congress on your corner as it’s supposed to be
  • Central Valley city’s heritage rediscovered
  • Central Valley school is building students’ foundations
  • Job tips from the expert
  • Long-term jobless worker re-invents himself
  • Building a new power plant means jobs for Central Valley
  • Sacramento reaches for the stars with new science center
  • Lodi Chamber opens China’s doors to small business
  • Writing books for fun – and sometimes profit
  • Black Friday shopping? How to protect yourself from scams
  • California winemakers can find added rewards overseas
  • Wine makers tap overseas markets from Lodi
  • A new revenue stream for Central Valley small businesses
  • Food bank seeks more business support
  • Tips for finding a job in the Great Recession
  • State may solve some of its prison woes with new Stockton facility
  • A solution to underwater mortgages
  • Should public libraries be managed by private firms?
  • Central Valley moves ahead with critical water project
  • Dee Dee Myers and the increasing impact of women on small business
  • How women are growing their small businesses
  • A market with a mission
  • Retailer 'paints' solutions to cash flow challenge
  • An answer for the unemployed – return to school
  • A ‘golden’ small business success story
  • Central Valley winegrapes blessed
  • Rubbing out the recession with a franchise
  • Surviving the recession as a small business
  • It’s personal, union says of Stockton fire cuts
  • How old it too old to start a new business?
  • They've found the recipe for small business success
  • MBA students help revive Central Valley farmers market
  • Classic wooden yachts anchor in Stockton for weekend
  • Foreclosures, short sales – a bank president comments
  • The strength of family helps this small business compete
  • Festival spears success in Central Valley
  • Social media helps keep family business prospering
  • Central Valley students get training in ‘green’ futures
  • Knives readied as Valley cities slash services
  • Central Valley jobless picture still grim
  • Delta residents told to ready for water war
  • Opportunities outlined for Central Valley small businesses
  • Rewiring your brain for success
  • Central Valley no longer ‘shell shocked’ by recession
  • To fix California’s government, look to London
  • Taking your sales pitch to the next level