Monday, September 24, 2012

Billy Kilmer's Inland Valley connection

Many of you probably don't know the name Billy Kilmer, but I certainly knew that name when growing up in the Washington DC area in the 1970s. Kilmer was one of three Washington Redskins quarterbacks during that decade (Sonny Jurgensen and Joe Theismann were the others), and Kilmer was the quarterback during the Redskins' Super Bowl loss to the perfect Miami Dolphins during that decade.

When I was growing up, however, I did not know that Kilmer grew up in Azusa, California. Not that this would have made any difference to me, since I wouldn't have known where Azusa was.

Kilmer was a local hero out here, playing for Citrus Union High School and UCLA, and turning down an offer from the AFL's Los Angeles Chargers to sign with the San Francisco 49'ers.

Then he broke his leg in a traffic accident.

If Kilmer had listened to his father, he probably would have become an dry cleaner out here in the Inland Valley. But Kilmer had other ideas.

He was determined to come back for the `64 season. “I always wanted to be a professional athlete and I wasn’t going to give it up easy. I loved the life and I loved to play, I loved everything about it. So I was determined that I would come back and play quarterback.

“Another motivating factor was that my dad owned a dry cleaning business. When I got out of the hospital and went back home he said, `You’ll never play again. So you might as well learn the dry cleaning business.’ I was pressing pants in Pomona, California in August when it was 100 degrees outside and the steam from the press was hitting me in the face. I said, `I am not going to do this for the rest of my life.’ So I worked even harder in re-hab.” He did return for the `64 season and played in 10 games for the 49′ers at quarterback.

Kilmer eventually moved eastward, playing for the New Orleans Saints until they drafted Archie Manning, and then moving to the Washington Redskins to battle Sonny Jurgensen for the starting quarterback job. But for Kilmer, there was no "controversy":

As far as Kilmer was concerned, there was no controversy. “Allen liked me, there’s no doubt about that. But when I won, he played me. When I lost, he put Jurgensen back in. Then Jurgensen would get hurt and I would go back in. It had nothing to do with me and Sonny. And Allen never tried to put a wedge between me and Sonny.

“There was a personality conflict between George and Sonny but I didn’t know why. George wanted Sonny to go along with the program and Sonny would bump his system from time to time. But there was never anything between me and Sonny. The way I look at it is that I got my shot. When you get a chance to play, you better perform. That’s what an athlete does and if you don’t perform, you’re not going to play. I don’t care what sport it is. When I got my chance to perform, I won and it was hard to get me out of there when I won. I didn’t have a controversy with Sonny. I knew my place and I knew that if Jurgensen was healthy he’d be playing.”

And it certainly beats dry cleaning in 100 degree heat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Dragon Loco Ontario, and the reviews, and the reviews of the reviewers

I never got around to writing about Dragon Loco on this blog. But I wrote about it elsewhere.

A little history: David Allen blogged about Dragon Loco and admitted that he didn't care for the way that the Chinese-Mexican fusion was executed. He noted, however, that Yelp reviewers tended to be positive. One of those reviewers happened to be Allan Borgen, by the way.

I posted my own review on Yelp, which I am reproducing below.

Allan Borgen liked it (see his review here on Yelp), David Allen didn't care for it (see his Daily Bulletin column). I figured that I'd play it safe and just order a taco, rather than one of the larger dishes (burrito, quesadilla, etc.). If I loved it, I'd return some other time. If I hated it, not much lost.

Having heard of the small number of tables, I decided to order for take-out one night. This was a good thing, because when I arrived, all the tables were taken.

I ordered the orange chicken taco...and LOVED it. I'm glad that I didn't order the spicy orange chicken, because the one that I got was spicy enough for me.

I definitely plan a return visit!

Upon re-reading this, I realize that I made an error in confusing Allen's blog post (which included negative comments on Dragon Loco's food) with his Daily Bulletin column, which merely said "I'm not so sure the items that made the menu are successful either."

But the review that has people talking is the review by Jeff - not a review of Dragon Loco, but a review of David Allen's review of Dragon Loco. Allen quotes Jeff's complete comment here, which primarily boiled down to Jeff referring to Allen as "antique."

Allen, incidentally, resisted the urge to comment on some of Jeff's statements, such as the phrase "We seen it ate it, been their." Instead, Allen raised a question about reviewing in general:

But regarding your comment that my criticism showed that I was "ungrateful": Surely you don't think I should give somebody a good review simply because they contacted me? That doesn't seem fair to readers, does it, to purposely steer them wrong? Being "grateful" in exchange for favors isn't ethical behavior.

Even if Dragon Loco granted Allen no favors, Allen's mode of reviewing (and the mode of Borgen) is to provide honest reviews - sometimes positive, sometimes negative. There are those who provide uniformly positive reviews of things, but I don't necessarily remember their names.

And it's worthwhile to remember that even if David Allen and Allan Borgen and my wife all loved a particular restaurant, that doesn't necessarily mean that I would like it. And if I didn't like it, I'd have no problem telling David and Allan that I didn't like it.

(Actually, my wife would be fine with my honesty. She'd just feed me green peppers for dinner instead.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cagles does what a big business would never dare to do

There are plenty of big businesses that spend all sorts of money on social media and other efforts to engage their customers.

Why do they do it? They have to.

Take this example. I bet that there are a lot of appliance superstores that are very busy with Labor Day weekend sales. These businesses are pumping out ads and Facebook messages and the like encouraging people to shop this weekend.

Cagles Appliance in Ontario is not doing this. Oh, they're putting out Facebook messages - but it's a very different message.

Remember Cagles Appliance is going to be closed till Tuesday Have a great Weekend

That's right. Cagles is closed on Labor Day itself, which is a refreshing thought. And they're closed on Sunday. And they're even closed today, Saturday.

And I bet that 99% of their customers are extremely happy about it. Cagles doesn't need to hire so-called "social media experts" to engage their customers. They just engage them. And when they're closed, Cagles customers don't think "This is terrible! I'm going somewhere else to shop!" Instead, they think "Hope they're having a great weekend! I'll see them next week."