Don’t call Children’s Protective Services on me… I’m talking about a brewery. Braxton Brewing to be exact. Today is their third anniversary celebration (it was supposed to be last week but it got snowed out – thanks March!).
Braxton started with four guys and a dream. A father, his two sons, and a Yoda-like brewmaster.
L to R: Jake Rouse, Richard Dubé, Greg Rouse, Evan Rouse
Now they have two taproom locations, their beers are distributed in three states and their staff has grown exponentially. It’s a true American small business success story, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
My friend Keith Neltner created the killer logo
I worked with Greg Rouse, one of the founders, for 12 years. He left his full-time gig as a print production manager at our company a couple of months ago to take over as COO at Braxton. That was always the plan, but he was such a superstar at our company that our leadership had to hire two folks with 20+ years experience in print production to attempt to replace him. He was a great guy and a genius at what he did – we miss him dearly. But I’m thrilled that he’s able to work with his sons and wife every day now.
Nice job title!
I plan to drop by the celebration this afternoon, and if I do, I raise a glass to Greg, Tina, Jake and Evan, and to dreams coming true. #LiftOneToLife
At the Cincinnati airport recently, I saw this sign:
I first spied the sign from afar, and my 53-year-old eyesight isn’t what it used to be, so I originally thought it read “Toni Basil.” Probably just wishful thinking on my part… after all, who wouldn’t want to see an airport food court restaurant named after the famed one-hit wonder singer of the global 1982 sensation “Mickey”?
Actually, before she found fame as a faux cheerleader, Toni was a founding member of the groundbreaking “pop and lock” dance crew known as The Lockers (along with Fred ‘Rerun’ Berry).
She also choreographed David Bowie’s tours in 1974 and 1987, and a couple of Talking Heads videos, including Once In A Lifetime:
So she’s NOT a one-hit wonder. But I digress. Seeing the Toni Basil sign…er, the Torn Basil sign, reminded me of an afternoon long ago when I was working at 97X, and my friend and fellow DJ Dave and I did an on-air bit where I impersonated Lou Reed.
Dave was kind enough to send a recording of that bit my way:
(In hindsight, my impersonation sounds vaguely like Lou Reed… mixed with Steven Wright… but good enough for radio’s “theater of the mind.”) True story: one 97X listener, a rabid Lou Reed fan, heard the beginning of that bogus interview while he was driving in Cincinnati and immediately changed course and started speeding up to Oxford, Ohio (where 97X was) in hopes of meeting his idol. As soon as he heard “Lou” mention Toni Basil, he knew that he’d been had. It’s the closest I’ll ever come to an Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” moment.
Speaking of Orson Welles, you simply must watch (and rewatch) this video of a drunken Orson trying to record a wine commercial.
If you’re keeping score at home, we went from an airport food court sign to Citizen Kane. Sorry, that’s just how my feeble brain works. And finally, the real Lou:
A week and a half ago, Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, died.
The New York Times article is here. Below are a few quotes to ponder as a fellow resident of Planet Earth:
“This is a creature that didn’t fail in evolution,” said Thomas Hildebrandt, head of reproduction management at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin and one of the project’s leaders. “It’s in this situation because of us.”
“Sudan is an extreme symbol of human disregard for nature,” said Jan Stejskal, director of international projects at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan spent most of his life.
Every rhino species is under threat, said Cathy Dean, chief executive of Save the Rhino, an advocacy group, while the technical advances researchers are discussing may take 15 years to bear fruit.
“It may be too late for the northern white rhinos, but we still have time to save all the other species,” Ms. Dean said.
It’s on us. There’s still time, but the clock is ticking. Guitar god Adrian Belew tried to warn us way back in 1982, when he wrote this beautiful, bittersweet tune about the rhinos’ plight:
Yet another Xavier basketball coach has decide to leave my alma mater (and in this case his alma mater) for greener pastures.
Chris Mack is headed 90 miles south to take over at Louisville. (He’d better bring his Swiffer Wet Jet… there are a lot of messes to clean up.) I used to ask “why?” but having witnessed six coaches leave in my 36 years of rooting for the Muskies, I don’t cry and ask why anymore. I already know the reasons:
More cash – $30 million for a seven-year contract, which is waaay more coin than he earned at Xavier. In the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of college b-ball, where one bad season can get you fired in many places, that’s some darn good peace of mind for a 49-year-old in a young man’s game.
Family ties – Mack is born and raised in Cincinnati and his parents still live here. He played for Xavier, and was an assistant coach before taking the helm nine seasons ago. But his wife is from Louisville, and her family still lives there. Anyone who has ever had to play grandbaby tug of war at Thanksgiving or Christmas can appreciate that it’s his wife’s family’s “turn” with their three kids.
Prestige – as much as many Xavier fans hate to admit it, Xavier is still a notch or two below the blue blood programs. Louisville plays in the ACC, and has a storied basketball history. Two official titles (they had to vacate a third, in 2013) and eight Final Fours. Meanwhile X has yet to make a Final Four.
Bigger – U of L plays in the new Yum! Center in downtown Louisville, which holds 22,090 for b-ball… nearly twice the capacity of Xavier’s Cintas Center and the third largest arena in the country. Also, as a public university with an enrollment of 22,000 each year (more than three times Xavier’s annual enrollment), they have a much larger fan and donor base. (And lower academic standards… which matters greatly when you are recruiting basketball “student-athletes.”)
A new challenge – when Chris Mack’s Xavier mentor Skip Prosser left XU for Wake Forest, he quoted Faulkner: Sometimes you have to say goodbye to the things you know and hello to the things you don’t. (Skip was a man of letters… a perfect fit for Xavier. Yet he left too.)
Bigger fish in a smaller pond – Cincinnati has the Reds, Bengals and another Top 25 program three miles from Xavier’s campus. In Louisville, the Cardinals reign supreme.
Timing – Mack probably felt he had taken Xavier as far as he could take them. This year they won the Big East regular season for the first time, rose as high as #3 in the Top 25, and got a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. With four key players from this year’s team departing and a weaker class of incoming recruits, next season was going to be a letdown with or without him.
Before he cut ties, he cut down a few nets.
It was a great nine-year run: Mack became Xavier’s career leader in coaching wins this season (215 overall), won conference championships in the Atlantic 10 and the Big East, and made the NCAA tourney eight times, with three Sweet Sixteens and an Elite Eight.
So I wish Mack well in his new adventure. And I agree with what Xavier AD Greg Christopher said yesterday:
“At the end of the day, this program is beyond any one player, any one coach, any one president. At the end of the day, this program has been built over four decades with great coaches, great players and great administrators who have helped build it to where it is. I would hope a program transcends any one single person. Now, our all-time winningest coach is really important and was a big part of that. (Mack) deserves a lot of credit, both as a player, an assistant, and head coach, so, again we wish him the best as he moves forward.”