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All comments by Tom McGuire
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When the NYT cut the bridge column from daily to three times a week (Truscott was the writer at that time) I wrote a letter to the editor. The reply was something like “we give more column inches to bridge than we do to India.”
April 27, 2015
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It took me 5 seconds but it it elicit a chortle. Funny.
April 20, 2015
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I've underled Aces and gotten the desired return, but I've also gotten berated by partner who let me know that I was a rank amateur and that it is NEVER right to underlead an Ace – even if that is the only way to set the contract.
April 4, 2015
Tom McGuire edited this comment April 4, 2015
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“Is it possible to leverage any of the work that has been done in order to minimize costs going forward?”
March 10, 2015
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This is one of the biggest problems with “full disclosure.” If you ask the opps what their bids mean (especially in an auction that hasn't been alerted but that you suspect has conventional implications) you allow them to communicate UI, and good luck proving that! If you don't ask, you've forfeited your rights – “you're a good player, you know something was going on and you have to protect yourself by asking.” Both ways you allow the opps an extra step to the basket. Oh, and asking and withdrawing the question? How about just saying “I think you missed your partner's conventional bid. Give it some thought.”
March 9, 2015
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Kevin, good for you for seeking out information and for reporting what the committee says and does. I'm sure they will issue some official notes as they did previously, but it is great to have another viewpoint. I'm certain that it is a pain for the committee members to be under scrutiny like this, but ACBLscore+ was such a fiasco that it is important that the process to replace it be entirely in daylight.
March 3, 2015
Tom McGuire edited this comment March 3, 2015
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What motivated this new regulation? Is it simply tightening up spectator access for its own sake – nothing untoward has happened, but better to make sure nothing does happen. Or is it that this is in response to known issues of spectators communicating, wittingly or otherwise, information between tables?
March 1, 2015
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I haven't heard “orthogonally” in years! Love it. It is sooooo geeky. :)

Now can someone use “granular” in a way that doesn't apply to sugar?
Jan. 10, 2015
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I purchased Dan's pamphlets and was not impressed. They describe some current treatments used by Precision pairs, but I have no faith that they describe RM Precision be it Lite or otherwise. No curtains were lifted. Just my opinion. I find the Berkowitz/Manley book much more useful.
Dec. 27, 2014
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Thanks.
Dec. 12, 2014
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Could someone translate this for me:
“Financial results for the year-to-date period through October showed a decrease in net assets of $59K, $243K lower than the $184K budgeted. The forecast for the twelve months ending December 31, 2014, estimates a decrease in Net Assets of $195K, $201K lower than the $6K budgeted.”

Does that mean that net assets were expected to decrease by $184K from January 2014 through October 2014, but in fact there was a decrease of $256K?

And does it mean that for the period of January 2014 through December 2014 it was expected that Net Assets (BTW is that different from the “net assets” in the first paragraph? Note capitalization.) were expected to decrease $6K but in fact are projected to decrease $195K?

Hard to figure if “lower” is meant to indicate less of a decrease or a greater decrease.
Dec. 12, 2014
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Michaele Kopera: That's a little harsh, but it made me laugh.
Dec. 12, 2014
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I don't know if a cloth screen would accomplish the goals of having a screen, or if the “door” would stand up to use, wear and tear, etc. BUT I think it is a fine idea to explore other types of screens. Maybe there is a superior alternative to what is in use.
Dec. 4, 2014
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Phil, you have to consider the cost of living in Horn Lake. I'm sure Robert has many expenses he didn't have in Berkeley – like flood insurance. :-)

Seriously, it's a lot of money but likely in line with the salaries of similar sized enterprises. However, when is the employee evaluation done to determine accomplishments and areas where skills need to be developed in order to justify that salary?
Dec. 3, 2014
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Gary, can we get a summary or general report on that “heavy and lengthy questions and discussion”?
Dec. 3, 2014
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Find new friends. If she were playing on an iPhone 6+ I'd bend it in half in front of her. And forget about buying her a new one.
Nov. 9, 2014
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Thinking in terms of consumer benefit, this commercial might focus on any one of the following:

You can learn to play bridge – a game you've always considered interesting, but too difficult and time consuming to learn – in one day. (functional benefit, overcoming obstacle to adoption)

You can learn bridge and you'll think better of yourself. (pride/ego)

You can learn bridge and others will think better of you. (social standing)

Learn bridge and keep your mind alive.
(health, well-being)

Learn bridge and have a unique entertainment experience. (individual experience)

Learn bridge and interact with more people – make friends. (social experience)

There are other ways to parse this, of course. But I think this advertising problem comes down to:

1) sell the 1-day concept to people who have considered learning bridge or have some previous contact with bridge

or

2) sell bridge as a game to a largely undefined group of people who may be open to new leisure activities

#2 is a heck of a challenge, as I am sure everyone at Horn Lake will attest.

One other thought…

I'm sure the television station has a Creative Services department that will help you with the script, casting, production and post production. Listen to what they think is do-able. For instance, having people on camera means getting a good performance is critical (and unlikely with non-pro, non-union “talent”). Not having “sync sound” (recording the audio portion of the commercial at the same time as the video) means you don't need a sound guy on set (cheaper) audio equipment and ancillary stuff that needs to be considered – like the noisiness of the location if you don't shoot in a studio. It's better/easier for a low-cost commercial to work with MOS video (“mit out sound” – supposedly said by a German director in early days of cinema) – and add a music track and voice-over track (announcer) in post production.

Try and get good video production quality – not overlit like some TV stations will do. Look at local commercials that you like and point them out to the camera operator prior to shooting. And don't swing for the fences. A simple commercial laying out the benefit of a one-day course will beat a complex idea that isn't executed well.
Oct. 23, 2014
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Hi Kevin,

I am an advertising copywriter/producer with 35 years of experience. My advice is to know where you are going before you set out to create something. You need a map. In advertising that map is called a Creative Brief.

The Creative Brief consists of several questions which usually include the following:

Why are we advertising? (Give it some thought, it probably isn't for the first reason that occurs to you.)

What are we advertising?

Who are we talking to? (age, location, income, married status, etc. – include mindset/psychographics if you can)

What do they think now? (Ask some prospects.)

What do we want them to think?

What is the ONE thing they should know about our product? (Two things is one too many – be simple with your message.)

Why should they believe us?

What tone should our message have? (Give three descriptors – e.g. “Smart, Fun, Social”)

Another way to do this is by filling in this sentence:

“When I choose to play bridge instead of (competing activity), I know that I will get (benefit) because (Reason to Believe, i.e. support for our claim).”

I hope this helps. It might not. ;-) but it should help to keep you focused on what is the benefit of bridge to your target audience.

Good luck,

Tom
Oct. 23, 2014
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This process needs to be transparent. The CEO needs to give a full accounting to the BOD and the membership.
Oct. 3, 2014
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Who negotiated the original contract? If the services were not “work for hire” I think they didn't do a very good job representing the League. It can get complicated but still sounds like someone dropped the legal ball. I don't blame Hammond for not wanting to revisit the contract at this point.
Sept. 15, 2014
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