December 28, 2004
It's raining again. The night before Christmas Eve, I was at Walgreen's trying to pick out perfume for Kathy and this woman from Michigan (or was it Illinois?) came over and helped me. She was a total sweetheart and I appreciated her help. But when I quizzed her on her vacation plans she told me she was quite irritated with our weather. Too windy. Said she didn't even bring a jacket. Had heard the sun shined 360 days a year. She and her husband had gone to Sedona the day before and almost froze! It snowed! I assured her the wind and the clouds and the snow and the cold were an exception and I guaranteed her she would be sunning herself at the pool and complaining about the heat in no time. I imagine she is cussing me out today.
Sue Lambert came in this morning and announced she is going to double her sales this coming year. Really the attitude we need right now.
Yesterday RG told me he and Karen are reading a classic book (Growing A Business by Paul Hawken) that states successful companies keep their payroll at or below 18% of their gross revenues, and that companies who don't, have a diminished chance of survival. So we computed our percentage at the magazine and it is at 48%. Ouch! This was not totally shocking to me because we have always put most of our eggs in the employee basket, but one thing is clear; for the coming year we need to double our revenues or cut half our staff. Personally, I'm planning for increasing the revenue.
Our State Attorneys General, Terry Goddard came out for lunch today with his Chief of Staff Sally Ripley. Terry and I go way back to New Times (newspaper) days when Terry was the mayor of Phoenix. One time at an Arizona Republic newspaper party given by then-media-maven Gail Tabor, someone sent in a male stripper to pounce on her and a photographer barged in to take photos and humiliate her (okay, it was Mike Lacey). As the stripper cleared the door, I was standing in the kitchen with Terry talking about the Old West (what else?) and as the stripper pounced I turned to say something to Terry but he was gone. Vanished. I don’t know where he went, but he had the political sense to realize what was happening in a split second, and he was out of there. Amazing reflexes.
We ate at El Encanto ($22, Terry bought) and we talked about an art project he wants me to be part of. He's proposing a series of paintings for the AG offices that would illustrate and represent "justice." So naturally I whipped out eight sketches of MEN WITH BIG BADGES AND BIG GUNS. Even as I did them I knew this could present a potential PC problem for the attorneys general (see Western History Association blog entries for October and November and December). So I suggested I do a painting of a B-Western style neck-tie party with the lynchee wearing white shoes and a white belt and the title would be “An Arizona Land Developer Meets Justice.” Terry laughed and moved to another table.
As I ran after his car I suggested something less edgy, but I'm not sure he heard me. What I'm thinking of now (and I have to admit this was suggested by my legal counsel Roxie Bacon) is the same Gabby Hays style lynch mob, but the guy is an Arizona Strip polygamist with all of his "wives" around him wailing like in a Middle-Ages religious painting.
"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; kind, but not weak; bold, but not a bully; thoughtful, but not lazy; humble, but not timid; proud, but not arrogant; and have a sense of humor, without folly."
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