business news in context, analysis with attitude

A week ago, I was in The Netherlands and thought that the most outrageous things in the country were the Red Light District and the hash bars.

But no.

Easily more offensive is the new television reality show being aired there in which a terminally ill woman will give away one of her kidneys to whatever contestant manages to win. The contestants are all on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, and there are those in the country who say that the show will draw attention to the necessity for people to fill out organ donor cards.

Which may indeed happen, but turning the act of organ donation into some sort of weird combination of ‘Survivor” and “Hollywood Squares” strikes me as being just this side of barbaric. And certainly on the other side of good taste.

This show certainly proves one thing. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, something happens to convince me that there is an awful lot that I haven’t seen, and even more that I haven’t even imagined.

Poor A-Rod.

He earns a gazillion dollars for playing a kid’s game, he tries to promote an all-American image as the happy father and husband, and then he has to wake up to a New York Post front page with a picture of him taking a woman – not his spouse – into his hotel after they visited a strip joint together.

Unlike some who believe the Post crossed the line in publishing the story, I cannot help but feel that A-Rod has been hoisted on his own petard…and that if he wanted to cheat on his wife, he at least should have been a little bit more discreet.

It is a good lesson for all of us. Behave in a way that is inappropriate or unacceptable – either personally or professionally – and we run the risk of it being in the Post or on

It is hard to work up any level of sympathy for A-Rod, especially when you compare his situation to that of the 18-year-old California female pole vaulter who, because her picture got posted on some idiot’s blog, suddenly became victimized by a bunch of morons who wanted to make rude and lascivious comments about her on a variety of Internet sites. (I’m deliberately not using her name here, nor the names of the sites. I read about her in the Washington Post, and if you want to check her out, I’m at least going to make you work for it.)

This young lady, an accomplished student-athlete, had her picture taken during a meet. The picture was hardly provocative, though there is no doubt she is extremely attractive. But things got out of hand when bloggers started copying the photo onto their sites and posting lewd and provocative captions, and then other people started trying to track her down to proposition her. I love the Internet and make much of my living on it, but this stuff really makes me wonder. Steve Johnson of the Chicago Tribune put it well: “There is the Internet we might want, and then there is the Internet that we’ve got.”

This young woman is an innocent victim, much like the Rutgers women’s basketball team was in the Imus affair.

A-Rod has no idea what it means to be a victim. He could learn a lot from these women, but he is unlikely to meet any of them. After all, they don’t frequent strip clubs.

By the way, before any of you send me email suggesting that I’ being a hypocrite here, I want to point out that there is a huge difference between A-Rod going to a strip club and me frequenting the Amsterdam Red Light district.

I was doing research.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The Wall Street Journal sponsored a conference this week during which the main attraction was the appearance of Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates on stage together, reminiscing about the early days of the computer biz and talking about the future. It was a fascinating dialogue…and worth watching, as opposed to reading the news reports, which were by their very nature condensed. Go to the WSJ website and check out the various segments…it is fascinating viewing, especially when they talk about the cultures of innovation that exist at both their companies.

Cultures of innovation.

What a concept.

Yesterday, my son turned 18. It started off what is going to be a groundbreaking year in the Coupe household. Because in 10 days my daughter turns 13. And in a couple of months, my eldest son turns 21. And it was just late last year that Mrs. Content Guy celebrated a big birthday. (I’m not allowed to tell you which one.) Talk about synergy. Big doings.

Where does the time go? And how did someone like me get so lucky as to have not just a wonderful and supportive spouse, but also three kids who are maturing as good and happy people who make their parents proud of them?

Dizzy Dean once said, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” I’m proof positive that this doesn’t just apply to life on the baseball field.

By the way, one answer to the rhetorical question, “where does the time go?”, can be found in the following note:

It was exactly 40 years ago today that the Beatles released their landmark album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

It is on the iPod even as I write this. And it sounds as fresh as yesterday.

Yesterday, I wrote, in response to an email suggesting that I was wrong for not sourcing a passage from the Bible, that I also don’t always source lyrics from Jimmy Buffett songs…that sometimes, in the proper context, I figure that they are well known enough not to need precise attribution. And then, I noted, the problem may be that I know more Buffett lyrics than Biblical passages.

Predictably, I got a number of emails yesterday telling me that I’d be better off if I spent more time reading the Bible and less time listening to Buffett CDs.

Which is true.

Except that the Bible doesn’t go nearly as well with margaritas.

“To everything there is a season...”


Have a good weekend.

KC's View: