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Nervous in Bulldog-land

[This originally ran Jan. 22. Keep in mind that these scanarios play out over the course of years. But as of today Miami is undefeated and Georgia is 3-2, out of the Top 25.]

When you watch an exciting college football game like the Alabama-Clemson battle for the national championship, it’s hard for even the most cynical to not listen to better angels.

Those angels whisper that the players on the field are getting taken care of with scholarships, some have NFL potential and all will benefit somehow in their eventual endeavors. Those angels gloss over the BS and talk little about coaches … for a reason.

The Southeastern Conference is the best football conference, and coaching there pays a CEO-type salary. Thus, CEO-type dynamics are in play.

The people running the University of Georgia athletics department have run into a principle often seen in the world of public companies: They had damned well better be right.

UGA coach Mark Richt was shoved aside after the regular season because school officials were certain of procuring Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator at Alabama since 2008. That tenure includes four national championships, the latest secured Jan. 11 with a victory over Clemson.

Cutting a head coach loose is tough even under ideal circumstances. That would be when he gets no offers, slinks off to a TV desk for two years and eventually makes a comeback in the West.

Mr. Richt secured a new job in a couple of days, at the University of Miami, a school capable of producing a national champion. He and Mr. Smart, who has never held a head coaching job, will recruit on the same turf.

The pressure is not on Mr. Smart, who would still be a hot commodity as a defensive coordinator if the Bulldogs don’t do well. The pressure is on his bosses, and they know it. Something out of their control – how Miami fares in the next three years – will affect their careers. That’s how the business works.

What is it with millennials?

Writing for the New York Post, Johnny Oleksinski offers a succinct take on the hard-to-understand millennials: They suck. From the article, in which he describes The Lousiest Generation:

“At 26, I’m stuck in the middle of the world’s most maligned, mocked and discussed age group. And I hate it. Imagine being forever lumped into a smug pack of narcissists who don’t just ignore the past, but openly abhor anyone and everything that came before them. … This is my number one rule: Do whatever millennials don’t. Definite no-nos include quitting a job or relationship the moment my mood drops from ecstatic to merely content; expecting the world to kowtow to my every childish whim; and assuming that I am always the most fascinating person in the room, hell, the ZIP code.”

There are no precise starting and ending birthdates for millennials (first known as Generation Y), but 1983 to 1995 looks like a good guess. That would make them 21 to 33. Sounds about right; you all suck, and that goes double for special snowflakes on college campuses studying to be baristas at Starbucks. Back to the article:

“Perhaps their messiah complex is a result of being coddled, petted and worshiped like toy poodles from infancy all the way to college. Pundits love to cite soccer participation trophies as the downfall of Western civilization – but it gets even worse. Last week, Hastings High School in Westchester, N.Y., handed out 87 commendations at its Senior Awards ceremony. The graduation class size? 141 teens.”

Needless to say, millennials’ attitudes aren’t going down well in workplaces, where bosses tend to be older and suspicious of serial job hoppers. More from Mr. Oleksinski: “One friend of mine has tackled six different jobs in two years, which seems more stressful than just sticking with one less-than-perfect spot for a while. How long should any person stay in a gig? At least 18 months, according to most career experts. Think of it as binge-working.”

Finally, he has some advice for peers, guaranteed to fall on deaf ears: “Action item one: Stop blaming everybody. Don’t blame the big banks, don’t blame your mom, don’t blame the baby boomers, don’t blame your employer, your landlord, the economy … By absolving ourselves of responsibility, we’ve become forever 8-year-olds, tattling on the world in hopes it will better our situation. It won’t. It will only make it crummier.”

Now that he has spoken his mind, Mr. Oleksinski notes that friends might label him an “old soul” or “26 going on 76.” He should take that as a compliment and tell them to get off his lawn.

A cat fights City Hall

Spanning the globe for feline news … takes us to White Settlement, Texas, for a report on Browser, a domestic shorthair who makes his home at the library. The City Council voted to evict the local celebrity in 30 days, citing concerns about patrons’ potential allergies. Townspeople leaped to his defense. From The Guardian of London:

“A woman spoke about the history of cats in libraries. A man mentioned WebMD statistics on the low prevalence of cat allergies. Others talked about how the cat brought children into the library to read. A little boy was sad he had only been able to pet the cat once. … After the meeting, more than 700 people signed a library petition in favor of Browser staying. Nearly 12,000 signed a Change.org petition pleading the same cause. A Facebook page in support of Browser had over 2,000 likes; the library’s page was littered with comments from supporters around the world.”

White Settlement Mayor Ron White reported more than 1,200 messages of support from every corner of the U.S. as well as England, Germany, Australia and Guam (“where America’s day begins”).

So the City Council backed down, in a special meeting broadcast on Periscope, handled by a reporter from the local ABC affiliate. Browser will continue to make his home in the library, which sought his services in 2010 to fix a rodent problem. Before that he was in the animal shelter; obviously he was in no danger of going back, because many families were eager to be owned by him.

The story took a couple of weeks to play out. Browser didn’t seem disturbed by the attention and continued to make his rounds, visiting with children. I doubt he’ll run for Council because celebrities don’t need that noise.

I close with a note about the distinctly non-PC name of the city, a suburb of Fort Worth. There were originally two settlements in the area, one predominantly white and the other Indian. In 2005, city leaders proposed changing the name to West Settlement and put it on the November ballot. Voters crushed the measure 2,388 to 219. Don’t mess with Texas.

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