The Early Signs of the 2020 Ticket That Will Best Represent America

A few weeks ago, the Center for Responsive Politics released the latest fundraising contributions for the 2020 candidates. As of July 16, five Democratic candidates had raised at least $20 million. Senator Bernie Sanders currently leads with more than $46 million in contributions. So where is the money coming from? Here’s a breakdown of the early fundraising efforts for the five Democratic frontrunners. For perspective, I’ve included the early breakdowns for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign as well as the final breakdowns for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trumps’s 2016 campaigns.

% of Small Contributions 

  • 1. Sanders – 60%
  • 2. Buttigieg – 48.8%
  • 3. Warren – 47.7%
  • 4. Harris – 38.9%
  • 5. Biden – 37.8%
  • 6. Trump (2016) – 25.93%
  • 7. Trump (2020) – 22.5%
  • 8. Clinton (2016) – 18.53%

% of Large Contributions

  • 1. Biden – 62%
  • 2. Harris – 56.1%
  • 3. Clinton (2016) – 52.67%
  • 4. Buttigieg – 51.2%
  • 5. Warren – 23%
  • 6. Sanders – 18.1%
  • 7. Trump (2016) – 14.01%
  • 8. Trump (2020) – 13.9%

% of Other Contributions

The Center for Responsive Politics describes the Other sector as “home to a variety of industries that don’t fall under any business, labor or ideological groupings. Categories include educators, government employees (though not their unions), nonprofit organizations, religious groups and members of the armed forces.” Here’s the breakdown so far:

  • 1. Trump (2020) – 63.5%
  • 2. Trump (2016) – 40.24%
  • 3. Warren – 29.3%
  • 4. Clinton (2016) – 28.23%
  • 5. Sanders – 21.9%
  • 6. Harris – 4.8%
  • 7. Biden – 0%
  • 8. Buttigieg – 0%

Trump’s percentages in this sector are owed in part to the Bernard Marcus Family Foundation, a foundation run by the GOP megadonor, Bernie Marcus.

Side note: % of Self-Financing

In 2016, Donald Trump used his own money to finance 19.77% of his fundraising. Neither of the five Democratic frontrunners nor Trump have used their own money toward their 2020 campaigns.


Metric 1: Average Ranking for Small, Large, and Other Contributions Combined

It’s tricky to combine the three percentages above into one metric. There are obviously large gaps between each contribution type for many of the candidates. When electing a President to represent the entire country and not only special interests, I think the American public should avoid candidates who have wide percentage gaps between contribution types. To try and identify some consistency across the three contribution categories, I took each of the candidate’s three rankings above and calculated the average. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 3.6 – Warren
  • 4. Harris
  • 4 – Sanders
  • 4.3 – Biden
  • 4.6 – Buttigeig
  • 5 – Clinton (2016)
  • 5 – Trump (2016)
  • 5.3 – Trump (2020)

I think this metric is useful. Based on percentages alone (not total dollars), fundraising for Trump’s 2020 campaign appears to be more polarized than his 2016 campaign. On the other hand, fundraising for every single Democratic candidate appears to be more evenly spread out compared to Clinton’s 2016 campaign. For example, Warren’s split of 47 small / 23 large / 29 other seems more representative of the country than Trump’s current split of 22 small / 14 large / 63 other or Clinton’s 18 small / 52 large / 28 other.


Demographics of Contributors

Now that we know the breakdown of small, large, and other contributions, let’s see how the candidates split between female and male contributors. Note: Joe Biden’s demographics data was not available at the time of publishing.

% of Female Contributors 

  • 1. Clinton (2016) – 52.3% 
  • 2. Warren – 49.7%
  • 3. Harris – 49.5%
  • 4. Sanders – 37% 
  • 5. Buttigeig – 33.4%
  • 6. Trump (2020) – 36.4%
  • 7. Trump (2016) – 28%
  • N/A – Biden (data not yet available)

% of Male Contributors

  • 1. Trump (2016) – 72%
  • 2. Buttigeig – 66.6%
  • 3. Trump (2020) – 63.6%
  • 4. Sanders – 63%
  • 5. Harris – 50.5%
  • 6. Warren – 50.3%
  • 7. Clinton (2016) – 47.7%
  • N/A – Biden (data not yet available)

Average Ranking for Female and Male Contributors Combined

  • 3.5 – Buttigeig
  • 4 – Harris
  • 4 – Warren 
  • 4 – Clinton (2016)
  • 4 – Sanders
  • 4 – Trump (2016)
  • 4.5 – Trump (2020)
  • N/A – Biden (data not yet available)

Metric 2: Percentage Gap Between Female and Male Contributors

Due to the large gaps between some of the percentages (i.e., Trump’s 63% male vs. 36% female), the rankings above aren’t a great guide for determining which candidate will best represent issues for male and female contributors. Instead, I think it’s more insightful to see how each candidate ranks by their percentage gaps between female and male contributors.

  • 1. Harris – 0.05%
  • 2. Warren – 0.06%
  • 3. Clinton – 4.6%
  • 4. Sanders – 26%
  • 5. Trump (2020) – 27.2%
  • 6. Buttigeig – 33.3%
  • 7. Trump (2016) – 44%
  • 8. Biden – N/A (data not yet available)

The 2020 Ticket That Will Best Represent America (So Far)

To find out which ticket will best represent America based on who’s contributing to the campaigns, I took the average rankings of metrics 1 and 2 listed above.

Remember, the job of the President is to represent the United States of America (rich and poor, private and public, men and women, etc.). I think the candidate with the smallest gap between male and female contributors (metric 1) and the most even distribution of small, large, and other contributions (metric 2) will fair best at the job. With that in mind, here’s the breakdown:

  • 1.5 – Harris
  • 1.5 – Warren
  • 3.5 – Sanders
  • 4.5 – Clinton (2016)
  • 5.5 – Buttigeig
  • 6.5 – Trump (2020)
  • 7 – Trump (2016)

Harris gets the Presidential edge because she has a 0.01% gender gap advantage over Warren. We obviously don’t know if Harris would appoint Warren as her Vice President, but it would be the best move for representation in the United States of America.

But Don’t You Remember What Happened in 2016?

Obviously, Donald Trump won the 2016 election despite ranking last on this list. But 2020 is a different election. Yes, it will carry some of the lessons of 2016, but it’s still a different election. Take Trump’s early fundraising performance as proof. His percentages of female contributors and small and”Other” contributions have increased so far in 2020, while his percentages of male contributors, large contributions, and self-financing have decreased.

That List Again with President Obama’s 2012 Campaign Included

For what it’s worth, I went back and added President Obama’s fundraising data from the 2012 election to the list above. Here’s how he compares:

  • 1.5 – Harris
  • 1.5 – Warren
  • 3.5 – Sanders
  • 4.5 – Clinton (2016)
  • 4.65 – Obama (2012)
  • 5.5 – Buttigeig
  • 6.5 – Trump (2020)
  • 7 – Trump (2016)

You could argue that Clinton’s similar performance to Obama in her 2016 loss is reason enough to approach every election differently.

Besides, at the end of the day, American citizens must remember that the biggest threat to a democracy is lack of representation. The way to avoid the threat is to follow the money in politics. Until the day comes when money no longer buys representation, voters need to begin following the money and choosing candidates who are going to represent the United States of America instead of special interests.


Learn How to Follow the Money (and Maybe Even Become a Contributor)

If you’re curious about campaign financing, The Center for Responsive Politics is an invaluable resource. In addition to tracking 2020 fundraising, the website features must-read material such as The Top 10 Things Every Voter Should Know About Money-In-Politics and its Follow the Money Handbook. You can learn more at opensecrets.org.

Will Zion Williamson Pay $99,999 for zionwilliamson.com?

Like any businessman, I sometimes search GoDaddy.com for potentially lucrative web domains. During a recent search, I discovered that zionwilliamson.com was available to purchase for $99,999.

For those who don’t follow sports, Zion Williamson is a freshman on Duke University’s basketball team. If he stays healthy, Williamson has the skillset to become a basketball megastar.

On the surface, the price of the domain seems high. GoDaddy assumes that 1.) Williamson will make hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years and 2.) he’ll want a website with his exact name as the URL and won’t mind paying $100,000 to get it.

But as I researched other NBA megastars I learned that few have websites with their exact names as the URLs. Several have opted against websites altogether in favor of Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube channels. Millennials!

For proof, let’s examine the 10 starters in the upcoming NBA All-Star game. This proof alone holds the answer to the question posed in the title of this article.

Lebron James

As the oldest player on this list, LeBron James is the traditionalist. His website domain is lebronjames.com. It’s a pretty standard website complete with a personalized logo and a variety of on- and off-court accomplishments. But the footer definitely violates the logo usage rules of both Twitter and Facebook.

The footer of lebronjames.com violating logo usage rules

Kevin Durant

Like James, Kevin Durant nabbed his exact name for his website URL. But kevindurant.com redirects to thirtyfiveventures.com, Featuring a personalized logo, Durant’s website is almost exclusively dedicated to his investments, media company, and foundation.


James Harden

James Harden is the last All-Star of the bunch who has his exact name as his website URL: jamesharden.com. Aside from a few news stories about charity work, the website is essentially a collection of Harden’s magazine covers and commercials.


Steph Curry

We’re now entering the thrifty section of our list. I’m assuming that the owners of stephcurry.com (a fan’s WordPress blog) and stephencurry.com (a creative director at a marketing firm in Birmingham) are both holding out for large sums of money from the real Steph Curry (or his shoe company). Instead, Curry chose to incorporate his jersey number into his website URL, stephencurry30.com. The site is currently under construction.


Paul George

If you want to read about the motorcycles, guitars, running, and very detailed work bio of a guy named Paul George, visit paulgeorge.com. If you want the website of NBA superstar Paul George, you need to visit paulgeorge.net. We’ll never know if these two Pauls have negotiated, we can only assume the negotiations fell through. Although I personally think the .net is a bad look, I respect PG3 for refusing to overpay for a .com domain.


Giannis Antetokounmpo

Like Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo opted to include his jersey number in his URL, giannis34.com. The reason? No one is typing giannisantetokounmpo.com and giannis.com is reserved for the pizza-making kits of Gianni’s Fundraising®.


Kemba Walker

The only website associated with Kemba Walker is WinWithWalker.com, a faux political campaign website for his ‘Most Improved Player Award’ bid in 2016. Walker didn’t win the award but the website and accompanying campaign video are well done.


Kyrie Irving
Kawhi Leonard
Joel Embiid

We’re now at the opt-out portion of the list. None of these three All-Star starters have a website. These are the millennials I was referring to earlier.


So, Back to Zion Williamson

For some perspective, just think about this timeline: Zion Williamson was born in 2000, LeBron James entered the NBA in 2003, and Facebook was founded in 2004. Is it really surprising that younger players are choosing social media over websites?

When LeBron James entered the league, I can imagine some marketing firm pitching him a website with the question, “What could be more personalized than a website with your name?” A decade later, we now equate personalization with a selfie on Instagram, a tweet about the president, or a “behind-the-scenes” television series on YouTube or Facebook. Would anyone really care if LeBron James’s web domain was lebronjames23.com? Yes, it’s available to buy for $800.

Taking everything into consideration, I’m guessing that Zion Williamson won’t spend $99,999 on zionwilliamson.com. In fact, Williamson may have already made his decision because zionwilliamson1.com is taken.

9 Signs You’re At the Wrong Company

Sign #1: When you wake up in the morning you feel as if you’ve slept for two, three thousand years. But before you can relish the feeling you realize that you must be late to your company—except you can’t remember what it is your company does or even where it is your company is located. In a panic, you pick up your phone and type what you assume is your company’s name into a map to get directions. 

Sign #2: When you enter the lobby of your company’s building, the security guard stops you and asks for your name. You tell the security guard not to worry, that you work upstairs and have a hundred emails waiting. When the security guard asks you to leave, you go to the coffee shop next door and think about how strange your company is. 

Sign #3: When you sneak into the building through the back exit and take the elevator to the 22nd floor, you again meet resistance in the form of a locked door to the main office. You sit on the couch in the office lobby and avoid eye contact with the administrative assistant. As you pretend to tie your shoes, you think about how your company may not be the best fit for you. 

Sign #4: When one of your coworkers exits the elevator, you tell the administrative assistant that it’s email time and follow your coworker to the door. You let them scan their keycard while you open the door and ask if they’re free for lunch.  

Sign #5: When you sit down at the first open desk, you remove a banana from your computer bag and tidy up several items within and around your immediate area. Wanting to make an impression on the CEO, you also tidy up the empty cubicle next to you. For the first time all morning, you think about how great your company is. 

Sign #6: But when you attempt to log into your computer, you discover that your credentials don’t work. Even worse, when prompted to enter your email address on the “Forgot Password” page, you read that your computer thinks your email address doesn’t exist. Stunned, you read on and learn that your computer wants you to try again and maybe contact your local IT team. You lean back in your chair, place your hands on your head, and let out a nervous sigh.

Sign #7: After exploring the office in search of your IT team, you realize that your company must have two, three thousand people. Just then, you see one of your coworkers approaching from afar. In a panic, you wave to them. The coworker is so far away that you exaggerate your waving motion. When your coworker is closer, you tell them that you thought that was them and then ask if the IT team has moved. When they inform you that the IT team should still be located on the northwest side, you sigh to express relief that the IT team hasn’t moved to a new building.

Sign #8: When you find the IT team—there’s 28 of them—you clear your throat to get their attention. They all stop what they’re doing and you tell them about your computer issue. The sight of their blank, uncaring stares unsettles you to your core. Scared, you escalate the issue by shouting that the company is under attack and that you need your computer to email the CEO. 

Sign #9: When security escorts you out of the building, you gaze up to the 22nd floor and think about the morning. As you walk down the street, you come to terms with your company. So they’re strange, you think. What company ain’t? On your walk home, you stop at the grocery store and walk down the banana aisle. You place a few hundred in your cart and smile knowing that tomorrow will be a new day.

A Christmas Carol, 2018

In the year 2018 humankind had proved that it was privy to the dangers of ignorance and want. So, let us then fast-forward this retelling of Dickens’s classic tale to that most joyful of acts: when after being visited upon by three ghosts our hero awakes from his slumber and succumbs to that sweet Christmas spirit. 

Ebenezer Scrooge awakes in his bed. He has survived the three ghosts. Feeling a new sense of purpose, the old man enters his office, sits at his desk, and logs into Facebook.

An hour later Scrooge scrolls past an advertisement for a shower coffeemaker called Bathe and Brew. He clicks on the link and is directed to a website that sells empty boxes of gag gifts such as fart filters, bacon-scented dryer sheets, and plant urinals. “Wisecracks,” Scrooge says. “Every last one.”

Remembering nephew’s Christmas party and its annual white elephant gift exchange—where attendees gift useless items that are difficult to dispose of—Scrooge smiles and adds seven of every product to his shopping cart. It doesn’t matter that the extra 120 gifts will hinder the gift exchange’s precise numbering system—Scrooge has Christmas spirit.

Shifting in his chair, Scrooge then remembers that nephew specifically asked all attendees to wear ugly Christmas sweaters and/or Christmas pajamas. Not owning a sweater or pajama that could be deemed Christmas-y enough, Scrooge purchases $300 worth of ugly Christmas sweaters for the entire party. “It’s not wasteful if I work hard to waste it,” Scrooge says, a little louder.

After submitting his credit card information to another 100% secure website, the mouse in Scrooge’s hand begins to rattle as the energy of Christmas spirit pulses through his veins. He decides to send his sole employee, Bob Cratchit, a feast of artisan olives, water crackers, brie, and cookies all placed atop a bed of shredded green paper and wrapped in plastic. “He’ll never know who the sender is!” Scrooge cries in delight as he leaves the “Note” field blank and completes his third online transaction of the day.

The bell on Scrooge’s smartwatch tolls. “Ack,” Scrooge says, “Already 1 p.m. and only 23 steps.” He continues browsing the internet when he sees a video of Woody Guthrie’s song “Jesus Christ”, which starts:

“Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
Hard working man and brave
He said to the rich, ‘Give your goods to the poor.’
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.”

Unlike the awe-inspiring power of the three ghosts, Scrooge is struck by the simplicity of the song’s guitar strums and idea of Jesus Christ as carpenter born from humans into an unequal world of haves and have nots. What if the purpose of Christmas wasn’t buying unnecessary presents, white elephant gifts, and ugly Christmas sweaters? But after Googling “Woody Guthrie good?”, Scrooge learns from Fox News that Woody Guthrie was a communist.

To regain Christmas spirit, Scrooge watches another internet video. In this one, a group of people unwrap a ball of plastic wrap—which will take hundreds of years to decompose—to retrieve treasures such as a plastic bag filled with sugar in circular forms, a bottle of nail polish, and another plastic bag filled with sugar in a rectangular form. “A Christmas idea if ever there was one,” Scrooge says. “I shall bring one to nephew’s party.”

Scrooge bypasses his hat, scarf, and coat (which have been in storage all winter) and drives to the grocer to purchase as many boxes of plastic wrap that he can fit into the trunk of his SUV. While sitting in traffic, Scrooge thinks about the climate report that the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed him. “Bah humbug!” Scrooge thinks, as he inches forward.

Car Parts & The Strip: 5 Highlights from AAPEX

On the last of my five nights in Las Vegas, I walked outside for some much needed fresh air. I had easily spent at least 119 of my previous 120 hours running around, between, and what sometimes felt like through the Marlboro aura of the Venetian Hotel and Sands Expo Center. It was both my first trip to Vegas and my first time working the annual Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) Conference and Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo (AAPEX).

The dry Nevada air certainly felt refreshing in the chilly October night. As I walked the Strip (it was Halloween night), I had long since forgotten about my initial missed flight from NYC or my scrambled makeup flight that stopped in Philadelphia before off-roading through last week’s Nor’easter. Maybe it was because by then the week had turned out to be quite a success. Or maybe it was because I now had more important things to focus on, like the clown hanging out of the passenger-side window of a revving pickup on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Anyway, here are five highlights from my AAPEX week:

1. New Packaging Showcase Award 

As a key piece of the rebranding effort for its Standard brand, SMP’s marketing team and its agency created revamped packaging complete with a new logo and slogan. I had zero to do with the design and strategy of the rebranding effort (if it were up to me, I would have been tempted to choose a cardboard box and call it a day), but I did submit the new packaging into the New Packaging Showcase competition. When I learned that the Standard packaging had been named a winner for the Marketing category, I was extremely happy for all of SMP’s team members who put so much time, work, and stress into creating the box. It was a well deserved win.

award.jpg
Can we call it an award-winning rebranding effort?

2. Art Fisher Memorial Scholarship Award

Unlike the previous award, I actually had ZERO to do with SMP receiving the Art Fisher Memorial Scholarship Award, which was presented at the Opening Session of the AWDA Conference. Even so, it was rewarding to see our world-class training team receive recognition for providing such insightful and expansive training and education to the automotive aftermarket industry.

awda.jpg
Awaiting the start of the AWDA Conference’s Opening Session

3. Our Massive Lobby Banner

A month or so before AAPEX, I received an email from an AAPEX representative stating that a 100-plus-foot ad placement had just become available in the lobby of the convention center. Because we were rebranding our three most popular and successful brands—Standard, Blue Streak, and Four Seasons—it was a no-brainer to reserve the placement to showcase our new logos and brand statements. In the end, the banner impressed. Just look at the faces on the people ascending the escalator.

lobby.jpg

4. Working the Booth

We didn’t make any major changes to our booth at the 2018 AAPEX Show but that didn’t prevent us from connecting with customers about our latest product offerings and marketing material. Throughout the three-day show, we had countless passersby visit our booth to ask questions and provide feedback. From a marketing perspective, it was an invaluable learning experience to hear directly from customers.

booth.jpg
A few minutes before the doors opened on Day 1
booth-2.jpg
We had a modified booth design to accommodate the Alliance Jackpot on Thursday
booth-3.jpg
The modification included five tables with product demonstrations

5. Block 16 Food Hall at The Cosmopolitan 

In addition to reintroducing my body to fresh air, the purpose of my walk along the Strip was to check out Block 16 Food Hall at The Cosmopolitan. Opened this year during Labor Day Weekend, the food hall features five restaurants that are a “much-needed addition to Sin City’s culinary scene”, per Forbes. After much deliberation, I decided on a hot chicken sandwich from Nashville-based Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.

chicken.jpg
Nashville chicken in Nevada

For that night’s dessert and the next day’s breakfast, I picked up a half dozen (don’t judge!) of these Halloween creations from New Orleans-based District Donuts. The best tasting, best designed, and I’m assuming smartest donut was this brainy peanut butter and jelly creature.

donuts.jpg

Excess on Aisle 3

Recently while walking the aisles of a large grocery chain in a small Connecticut town of 10,000 people, I felt a sense of uneasiness come over me. It was 11 p.m. The store was nearly empty. The only audible sound was the periodic shuffling of employees breaking down palettes of boxes. In the emptiness, I was left alone to confront the source of my uneasiness: how could this small-town grocery chain—the same one found all over this country—have so much damn stuff?

Just look at how many fresh whole young chickens were in this refrigerated bin.

chickens.jpg

Who knows how deep the bin goes? I sure as hell wasn’t going to stick my hand down the hole of cold plastic bags to find out.

Perhaps that pit of Perdue chickens doesn’t seem extraordinary to you. Well, then, I present you with this stupefying display of bananas. 

bananas.jpg

According to WorldsTopExports.com, the top three U.S. suppliers of bananas are Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Ecuador; the fastest-growing suppliers of bananas to the U.S. since 2013 have been Sri Lanka (up 287.4%), El Salvador (up 194.1%), and Peru (up 166.3%); and the absolute bare minimum number of bananas that can be on display in a suburban grocery store is the amount needed for the end of a 5K run.

But bananas are perishable, you say. A hundred bananas isn’t that much. Well, what about all of these hair coloring products? Remember, this photo was taken at just one of several grocery chains in a small Connecticut town of 10,000 people, who apparently all dye their hair and beards.

hair-color.jpg

Growing up, my Dad and sister preferred the big tubs of Tropicana on the bottom row of this ridiculous refrigerated display of bottled juice.

juice.jpg

I never put too much thought into why my Dad and sister preferred a container so heavy it needed a handle, but perhaps this 2012 press release that accompanied the container’s release explains it: “People told us they’d be proud to put this beautiful pitcher on their table and most importantly, it’s still the same great-tasting, nutritious Tropicana Pure Premium 100-percent Florida orange juice with no added water, sugar or preservatives that families nationwide have made number one.”

Moving on, according to Mintel, 62% of Americans use mouthwash. Although that number is increasing, do we need this many brands, varieties, and shades of mouthwash?

mouthwash.jpg

Dwarfing the mouthwash is this seven-shelf-high display of salad dressing. 

salad-dressing.jpg

Forget for a moment that our country doesn’t eat salad and simply admire the shear unnecessariness of having this many varieties and brands of dressing. If you’re curious about what constitutes good salad dressing package, the Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) presented its 2017 Package of the Year Award to The Clorox Company’s Hidden Valley Dip & Pour Trial Package.

Before I left the store, I thought it was necessary to take one final photo for consideration. This unnamed town of 10,000 people needs five doors for frozen waffles.

waffles.jpg

According to Bloomberg, there’s a resurgence of frozen food, including Eggo waffles:

After a four-year slump, Kellogg Co., maker of Special K and Frosted Flakes, has returned to growth in recent quarters. That’s thanks in part to a boost from Eggos, which benefited from its prominence in the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” as the favorite food of a mysterious telekinetic girl named Eleven.

Mysterious, indeed.

Conversation with a Master Barber

Master Barber Boris K. has been cutting New Yorkers’ hair for more than 30 years. Today, he does so from his Upper East Side barbershop, Il Figaro II.

A few years ago, I felt confident enough as a regular customer to ask Boris if I could interview him while I got my haircut. For better or worse, here’s the minimally edited transcript of our chat. I’ve even included the songs that were playing in the background.

BORIS K: So what are we doing today? Not too short?

ME: I don’t mind it being a little shorter on the sides and back. How many inches do you think?

BK: Maybe half an inch?

ME: Okay, do you think that’ll look good?

BK: You don’t want too short, right?

ME: No, not too short.

BK: But not too long either?

ME: Right. Whatever you think will look best. So, in your 30 years of cutting hair, do you have any funny stories?

BK: Funny stories?

ME: Yeah.

BK: You mean about being a barber?

ME: Yeah. Whatever comes to your mind, if you can share it.

BK: Funny stories?

ME: Yeah.

BK: Well, I used to work in Astor Place. Do you know this place? In the village?

ME: No, what is it?

BK: A barbershop. It used to have around a hundred barbers at one time. I worked there maybe ten years. Big, big place. A couple floors.

ME: Did you have your own chair?

BK: Yes, yes, everybody had a chair. There used to be around 30 chairs. Maybe forty. If you came a little late, that’s it. Come back tomorrow—no place to work. It’s a crazy place.

ME: What are some of the craziest things you remember about it?

BK: Well, you have to work seven days a week. 12 hours, 14 hours a day. It’s too much. Too many hours. Too much pressure.

ME: Was anyone ever upset with their haircut?

BK: No, I used to do a good job. I don’t know about anyone else but I used to do a good job. I used to work on the top floor, and the top floor was very good. If somebody’s good, he goes on the top floor. If somebody’s so-so, they put them downstairs. So, you’re trying to make a movie or what?

ME: No, not a movie. It’s for a…

BK: Story?

ME: No, it’s for a zine.

BK: Mhm.

ME: Which is like a little pamphlet-sized thing…

BK: A story.

ME: Yeah.

ME: Do you miss Astor Place?

BK: Nah. I left 20 years ago. I have a couple friends who still work there. They have some nice people over there but they’re stuck. It’s not easy to leave a place when you make money. So, not too much? Just a trim?

ME: Yeah, just a trim. I have to enjoy my haircuts because I don’t know how long I’m going to have hair on my head.

BK: How old are you?

ME: 28.

BK: So you’re still young.

ME: Yeah.

BK: Don’t worry. It’s still going to be there.

ME: You think so?

BK: Yeah, it’s going to stay there.

ME: Good. I figure if I take my hair to a nice barber it’ll want to stick around.

BK: Why not? They have shampoo.

ME: Actually, I started experimenting with my own shampoo. Have you heard of this? You mix three tablespoons of rye flour with water. That’s it.

BK: Ah, nice.

ME: What do you think of that?

BK: Why not?

ME: But then the flour started to clog my shower drain so I had to switch.

BK: Mhm.

ME: And the conditioner is apple cider vinegar deluded in water. It’s supposed to help the hair shine.

BK: Ah, why not?

ME: I told my mom and she said, “Oh, god, do you need money?” She thought I couldn’t afford shampoo.

BK: No, you want to keep your hair.

ME: So what would you tell someone who wants to be a barber?

BK: If somebody wants to be a barber?

ME: Yeah.

BK: Why not?

ME: Any advice?

BK: You have to be young. And you have to love it. You can’t just be a barber. You have to love the job.

[Boris shows me the back of my head in his hand mirror.]

ME: Yeah, that looks great.

BK: I took all the curls off.

ME: Yeah, thanks.

ME: So, where does a master barber get his hair cut?

BK: Me?

ME: Yeah.

BK: My wife—she works here, she does it.

ME: Do you cut her hair?

BK: Of course.

ME: Do you have any regulars who’ve followed you to the Upper East Side?

BK: A few from Brooklyn. But, you know, nobody’s going to follow you. It’s too far away. You can’t depend on them. You have to depend on the neighborhood here. If you depend on people who are going to follow you, you’re never going to make it.

ME: Right, I went to a barbershop around here…

BK: Where?

ME: I think it was on 80th and 1st.

BK: Mhm. But not professional?

ME: Yeah, it wasn’t very good. They did offer me a shot of whiskey or vodka, though.

BK: I have those, too.

ME: So you don’t have any funny stories?

BK: Funny stories?

ME: Yeah.

BK: Every story is a funny one. That’s true, right?

ME: Yeah.

BK: Tilt your head to me. Uh huh. Good. Now, have a seat over there. I’m going to rinse your hair.

ME: How long do you think you’ll be a barber?

BK: Who, me?

ME: Yeah, man.

BK: For the rest of my life. Why not? I like it. Some people, they don’t like it. I like it. You have to like what you do or don’t do it.

[Boris turns off the blow dryer and shows me the finished result]

ME: It looks great. Thank you. I look presentable now.

BK: Take a look at the back.

ME: Yeah, it looks great.

BK: Not too short, not too long.

ME: Perfect.

BK: So, you want a shot of whiskey?

If History Repeats Itself at the 2018 NBA Draft

Tonight is the NBA Draft, an employment ritual where highly skilled job applicants are randomly assigned to divisions of a company and job offers are televised live to millions of people for immediate judgment.

As ridiculous as the spectacle seems, it gives people a chance to exercise two actions that have always been exciting and rewarding: bonding with a tribe and predicting the future.

Regarding the latter, we have information such as stats, wingspans, verticals, and highlight reels to guide our predictions. But what about history, you say? What, you didn’t say that? Well, too bad, that’s what I heard and I’ve already prepared this blog post in response. It’s my 2018 NBA Draft lottery predictions, based solely on the players each franchise has drafted throughout its history at its respective draft position(s) in this year’s draft.

1. Phoenix Suns

suns-shrug.jpg

History: The Suns have never had the #1 pick. From a historical perspective, this lack of experience could mean the Suns aren’t ready for a #1 pick and should trade down.

Prediction: It’ll probably be okay.

2. Sacramento Kings

valde.jpg

History: As General Manager of the Kings, Vlade Divac doesn’t have a great history on his franchise’s side. The team has drafted in the second position four times since entering the league. The selections? Phil Ford, Otis Birdsong, Archie Dees, and Maurice Stokes.

Prediction: Not good.

3. Atlanta Hawks

pau.jpg

History: The Hawks have done surprisingly well with the third pick. They’ve selected Al Horford, Pau Gasol, Marvin Webster, and Pete Maravich. Three of those guys were really good.

Prediction: Really good. Probably the best player in the draft.

4. Memphis Grizzlies

drew-gooden.jpg
Pictured: David Stern, Drew Gooden, and Drew Gooden’s suit

History: Like the Hawks, the Grizzlies have a decent track record when drafting fourth. They’ve chosen role players Antonio Daniels and Drew Gooden and all-star Mike Conley, Jr.

Prediction: Probably decent!

5. Dallas Mavericks

cuban-2.gif

History: The Mavs have never had the #5 pick.

Prediction: Likely average.

6. Orlando Magic

magic.jpg

History: The Magic have only had the sixth pick once, and they used it on current youngster Jonathan Isaac.

Prediction: Whether they’re good or bad, this player will be smiling in his draft photo.

7. Chicago Bulls

kirk.jpg

History: The Bulls selected Kirk Hinrich with the seventh pick in the star-studded 2003 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, they’ve also used the #7 pick on Chris Mihm (ouch) and Quintin Dailey.

Prediction: Somewhere between a Hinrich and an ouch.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers

lebron.jpg

History: This year, the Cavs need to do well with the eighth pick if they want to keep LeBron James from pummeling them during their games against the Lakers next year. Based on their past number-eight picks—DeSagana Diop, Andre Miller, Ron Harper, and Campy Russell—they have a 50/50 shot of selecting a decent player.

Prediction: Average!

9. New York Knicks

451091051.jpg
John Rudometkin, the Knicks’ 9th pick with the longest NBA career at five years

History: When drafting ninth, the Knicks have greatly underperformed. Here are their picks with length of career in parentheses: Don Ackerman (1 year), Jerry Harkness (1 year), Gene Short (3 years), Larry Demic (3 years), Michael Sweetney (4 years), and John Rudometkin (5 years).

Prediction: Really bad!

10. Philadelphia 76ers

payton.jpg

History: The Sixers have drafted twice in the tenth spot. Both selections had short careers in Philly. Elfrid Payton was traded on draft night and Leon Wood only played 38 games for the Sixers. But Wood is now an NBA referee.

Prediction: Future referee.

11. Charlotte Hornets

hornets.jpg

History: The Hornets used their sole #11 selection in franchise history last year on Malik Monk, who averaged roughly 7 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist per game in his rookie season.

Prediction: Probably okay.

12 and 13. Los Angeles Clippers

clippers.jpg
Joe Wolf preparing for a post feed.

History: The good news for the rebuilding Clippers is they have back-to-back picks in this year’s lottery. The bad news is their track record at their draft positions isn’t great. They’ve chosen Melvin Ely and Yaroslav Korolev with the twelfth pick and Terry Dehere, Loy Vaught, and Joe Wolf with the thirteenth pick.

Prediction: Both will be bad but will be able to feed the post.

14. Denver Nuggets

nuggets.jpg

History: The Nuggets have never had the fourteenth pick before.

Prediction: I smell a trade.