A Meeting With Stu Siegel

The Geography of a Recession is a very short presentation which will scare you. It should. Thanks Paul for this one. Keeps the economic “recovery” in perspective.

I received for the umpteenth time the “Dear Dr Laura” letter. The contents are true, though the origins of the actual letter are unknown. I removed the name of the alleged author because he claims to not have penned it. Please note that Dr Laura is not qualified to speak on most of the topics which she speaks on, especially theological ones such as raised in this letter. See Snopes for details. On her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… End of debate. It’s in the Bible – end of argument!

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how best to follow them.

  1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
  2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
  4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
  5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. Clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
  6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
  7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wriggle room here?
  8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
  9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
  10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    Anyhow, that’s just out there to put things in perspective. Just because it says so in the Bible, doesn’t necessarily make it so. Just like if it says so on the Internet also doesn’t make it true. In fact, you can probably bet good money the Bible’s more trustworthy than the Internet.

    Courtesy of Wil Wheaton we have Timmy O’Riley by L. Hadron and the Colliders. Making music was never this awesome! Using only the Bliptronic 5000, Guitar Shirt, Drumkit Shirt, Stylophone, and Otamatone Electronic Instrument, L. Hadron covers Baba O’Riley by The Who. All real geeks will click that link. The name of that band is awesomely double-plus geeky.

    Our wonderful TSA has issued a great memo to staff. If you fall down due to heart failure or some other medical ailment, and the TSA agent comes to your aide as a good Samaritan, they will be fired. I am not making this up. The memo also points out that the TSA will not provide first-aid training to its officers, that any officers with such skills wanting to help passengers in distress must get themselves excused from security duties by their supervisor or manager, and that Good Samaritan activity is working outside of your job description where you are not covered for medical or time loss through the Occupational Workers’ Compensation Program. (Italicized bit from the Economist’s Gulliver column which is linked above.  I understand security is first, but that’s just a bit much for me to stomach. Read it all, shake your head, and wonder what our government has come to.

    My stupid HOA of which I was formerly president served me with three violation notices today. They’re hiding from my return phone call which wasn’t very nice. First, they claim my house is not painted in the correct colour. It’s the same colour as the day I moved in 15 years ago. I also have proof they’re insane on this. I have the original colour book they provided. This is the second time in five years I’ve been served with this same notice. The second notice was for cleaning my roof. Um, my roof? The new one I put on less than two years ago? That roof? They’re smoking crack, and it’s not even good crack. The third one, they are complaining about the back patio. I’m sure their complaint would be legitimate if you could see it from the street. But a back patio isn’t visible from the street. Oh, wait, I don’t even have a back patio. I think that’s a problem. Anyone want to tell me how to humiliate these fucktards? They have failed to return two phone calls and left me on hold for 14 minutes. One lady whom I asked to take a message said “company policy doesn’t allow us to do so” — WTF?

    Lastly (first lastly), my friend Josh — yeah, I still have friends — found an interesting tidbit about one Danish curler, Madeleine Dupont . She’s posing for a calendar and it’s for charity. And she’s one hot curler. I like curling and I’ve been watching a lot lately. I did the same last Olympics too. I can’t tell you why I find it appealing but I do. And I’ve never actually seen Ms Dupont on TV, so she’s got nothing to do with it before you raise that unseemly — but plausible — accusation. Speaking of curling, still without Madeleine Dupont, Suzie-Q found this AP video link. You can read Josh’s original comments on his blog.

    Lastly, (second and final lastly), I had my big meeting with Stu Siegel the new Managing Partner of the Panthers today. This won’t interest most of you except for the hockey folks, so if you’re not interested in the NHL, you can go now.

    I had written Mr Siegel after a “last straw” moment and requested a meeting. I pitched myself and told him why he should give me time. I told him that I’m a charter season ticket holder, worked for the ECHL Matadors for a year, wrote a weekly column on the Panthers for nearly three full seasons for LCS: Guide to Hockey, and that I ran this message board. I ended the request with, “That is why you should listen to me.” I then waited for a reply.

    I received one Monday and he agreed to meet me Wednesday. That’s today for those of you keeping track. I went to this meeting prepared. I had a 19-page, perfect bound, full colour presentation. I wanted to leave him facts. I came in with three copies of the book. One for Siegel, one for his partner Mr Vimer, and one for Yormark who I was assuming would crash the meeting. I left Siegel two copies: one for him and one for Vimer. I still have no use for Yormark. Almost every ticket holder I speak to thinks he’s a cancer that infects the organization and I don’t think Siegel realizes it or accepts it either. I explained it nicely verbally, and not as nicely in the packet.

    The packet contains a seven-page letter detailing what is wrong with the organization broken down into a few distinct categories. With most points, because I named names and made claims of inappropriate performance, I included facts. There were links to online websites where evidence was provided. I also included printouts from team message boards and local media. If you’re going to make a case that something
    is happening, it’s best to prove it. I am not going to go into specific details, because I don’t feel that would be appropriate. But I will give you the general gist of what happened.

It all started 11 Feb 2010 when I went to the game with some people from ITW, number 148 on the Fortune 500 list. They made some comments about the arena that I’ve heard before. But because these were not only business associates, they were very loyal, long-term Blackhawks fans they were especially telling. It was the last straw and when I contacted Mr Siegel.
This is from the packet and doesn’t cover what actually happened in the meeting:

First, I pointed out the downward trend started with the departure of Jeff Cogen. While many people didn’t like Mr Cogen (I liked him), he did get the job done. I first went into detail about how the organization disrespects our hockey traditions. A common complaint is that people can’t tell there’s a hockey team there when you’re walking around. While I made a few suggestions, this wasn’t the point of my meeting. If they want suggestions, I’ll give them suggestions. I volunteered. And I will help.

I went into how the organization conveys a “don’t care” attitude. It starts with the typos and grammar errors that litter the scoreboard, advertising, and food menus. Then it’s the people who don’t return phone calls: sadly that’s most everyone there.

Then I went into how the organization disrespects the fans. I explained clearly that perception is reality. That means since the fans feel that way, it’s true. Even if they don’t feel that way. In the packet I pilloried Mr Yormark on this one point:

[Yormark is the] most universally derided among fans for his attitude. I am using a personal experience on this because it just so happens that this promise was seen by just about every fan in the building. On both the Official Panthers board and my own message board I mentioned I was having a meeting with him< …. we had the meeting earlier this year, and I thought it was productive. I won’t say we agreed on everything but I thought he and I at least came to an understanding. I blogged about it here so you can see my thoughts. At the end, he said he’d read my suggestions on the plane and follow up with me in a week. It would be very hard for me to prove he said it, except he blogged it …. That was 19 May 2009. It’s been nearly a year and I’ve not heard back. Where’s the accountability in that

I went on about how they fail to communicate even when they do things right. For example, if someone asks you to do something, let them know it’s been done. Otherwise how will anyone know you took care of their email/call/etc. I went on about how scheduling these meetings and giving people one day’s notice is inconsiderate of their schedule.

I used Mindy’s situation as an example of how they disrepect their own fans. You can find Mindy’s post over on the message boards. Better you hear her words than mine. She’s a class act, a great fan, and that she would be treated that way is horrible. (The team apologized after I gave her links to make complaints but it should have never happened.)

I brought up the legendary and infamous Body Slamming Alice article because it’s important that the team knows that some people think they’re better than everyone. No fan should drop and F bomb in front of a child. The fact a team executive did it, and then fired the employee who told them to stop it is inexcusable. If this is the public face of the team, why would anyone want part of that organization? I mentioned more examples of failure to communicate with other people. It’s important that I not pick on any one person.

People think I have a grudge against Mr Yormark. I categorically deny that. I think he does a great job at selling advertising, sponsorships, and all that. I just happen to dislike him because I do not think in an organization that relies on the fan base for their financial gain they should have a Machiavellian liar in charge. And that’s who’s in charge.

One comment as proof they don’t get it: Urinal Pucks with team logos. Epic fail. My final point was that hockey should be left to hockey people. “Hockey and management must be separated by an iron wall. Cohen, Yormark, and everyone else (yourselves included I’m afraid) need to stay out of the way.” I don’t think they get that because Yormark has his fingers in that too. I can promise you Yormark simply doesn’t know enough about hockey do the job. He’s a smart guy, but you need a smart hockey guy doing that. Yormark’s not a hockey guy.

Okay, that was the packet summary. Now on to my meeting. I introduced myself again, quickly reminded him why I was there and promised not to discuss the hockey side. (I did later mention that if they did trade Tomas Vokun they had to buy me a new jersey….)

Stu is a hockey fan. I want to make that clear. He asked where I sat, and I explained why we sat there. I also explained why we’re relocating for the upcoming season and that we gave him back his ‘free’ tickets in exchange for that relocation. We talked about Mindy a bit. We talked about Chad — I said nice things about him except his inability to return phone calls. We talked about Brad — again, I said nice things about him too, again except for his failure to return phone calls. With Brad, especially it’s frustrating because he did the work. We just didn’t know he did it. You think after messages from three people he might have had that little light go on and say “maybe I will call” — what do I know. Again, no beef with Brad or Chad.

We discussed Murphy. I told him that was the sort of fan he needed in the building. A nice guy, a loyal fan, a home, and a Pollyanna when it comes to the Panthers. That’s all good things for a home-town sports fan. Murph’s my friend and I am not criticizing him in any way. I pointed out that even Murph is frustrated and that if they’re losing the hard-core die-hard fans, things are going really wrong.

I pointed out that the problem is not the on-ice product. We have had several coaches, two GMs, and a whole slew of players. The team is being infected from things not related to hockey. The fans are part of it, or the lack of fans more accurately. I tried to convey to him repeatedly that the reason there are no fans in the building is because they don’t feel welcome, it doesn’t feel like home to a team. I’m not sure he realizes how true this is. How am I so sure? Last year they gave away tickets for free to anyone who had a local driver’s license. FREE. Nobody came. That means no ticket revenue, no concession revenue, no eyes seeing sponsor ads, and no life in the building.

This building (the store out front excluded) if you walk around, it’s hard to tell this is a hockey arena. In fact, you’d probably never guess. When you go to a concert you don’t know there’s a hockey team there. And you should. I’ve been to many arenas, and ours is better than Tampa’s because they have the worst hockey arena I’ve ever been to. But I’ve been to Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, New York, among others and those building you can tell a hockey team plays there even when one isn’t. Hell, I’ve been to minor league building over the years that are better including Estero and Orlando.

I suggested he survey fans using Surveymonkey or some other site. I am confident if he asks the right questions, he’ll see how right I am and how wrong they are. He said he welcomes suggestions and I do hope the fans who feel the management has ruined this building with their de-pantherization, with their “screw you” attitude, write him and share their views. The more people who express this, the better.

We took a little walk, looked at Mindy’s suite then at the ice which was mid-conversion for a concert this weekend. I thanked him for his time, urged him to read the packet carefully, and then, if he had follow ups or needed help, to contact me.

Mr Siegel is very hard to read. I’m usually good at it, but I’m not sure what he was thinking or feeling. Did I like him? He seemed okay. It’s hard to know most people in 35 minutes. I certainly don’t have a bad impression. I didn’t get that “icky” vibe that I get with others. I think he’s sincere in his desire to fix what’s wrong. I don’t believe we necessarily agree on “what’s wrong.” I can tell you he does care. He’s like Jeff Cogen that way. He cares about the team and he’s not faking — that’s the reason I spent my valuable time with him, because when it comes down to it, I care too.

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