A Trump-ian take on Kazi

Press power on your TV, open Twitter, Facebook (to whom we now pre-emptly apologize for a paragraph below), Yahoo – honestly, even AOL – and you will find an American buffet. All-you-can-eat, non-stop, breaking, entertaining news on the US presidential election. Bigger and better than ever. Well, in honor of this, open the gullet and be prepared for a Joey Chestnut-like Kazi-eating contest (seek to 9’40” in the video). For today we will eschew our heretofore understated irony, subtle sarcasm, and avaricious alliteration. Instead, we go full-on Trump:

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It’s going to be so great. Believe me, so great. We have built a tremendous mobile app, hired great people, have the best partners and the best deals for our users. We have deals with all people – men, women, businesses, more men, more women – believe me, it’s unbelievable.

We have great technology. I mean, just look at it, everybody is saying how clean it looks and how beautiful it is. It’s a beautiful picture – one of a kind. It’s America, that’s what it is. Kazi is America. Believe me. And the function is beautiful too. You know how they say form follows function? Right? Well, everyone is telling me – it’s not just me saying it, I’m just a messenger. Everyone is telling me, “Mr. Kazi, it looks so great, and the app is so beautiful, and it’s this and it’s that. There’s function coming out of the home page, function coming out of the search page, the create page, wherever.”

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Then you’ve got the low-life Facebooks of the world. Believe me, these guys are thieves, little petty annoying thieves. You give them your information and then they sell it to other people. So you are basically giving them your money. Think of it. You are giving them your money. Then you get some war game app coming to you in your news feed. Give me a break.

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Give me a break.

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Give me a break.

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So we’re not going to take it anymore folks. We’re not going to take it any more. These social-media wise guys aren’t who we are. We are what built this country and we’re not gonna take it any more.

So we are doing something really special. It’s not just me – it’s a movement. People are saying it’s the Kazi movement. I see people taking pictures of these beautiful landscapes with Kazi in the background. I mean, it’s like a lifestyle. We have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of followers. We have great polls. Look at the polls and everyone says they’re excited. So unbelievably excited. A beautiful community. A beautiful lifestyle. Something very special.

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So download Kazi. Think of it. You’re going to be so happy you did. When you download it you will find RunHub Northwest group runs – wonderful people – and YMCA activities – great organization – and activities created organically by you – the members.

Download it. And together we will make Kazi great, and Americans great again. 

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(Kazi connects people to running groups, walking groups and pickup games.)

(Image credit: charmcitywire.com, Kazi, Serptool.com, tshirtgifter.com, pitweston.com)

Motivation from some of America’s finest

Many of us are enjoying the day off and the start of the summer season. However don’t forget the purpose of Memorial Day. Enjoy the day off, but remember the brave men and women who have served in defending the United States.

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy…in order to give their children the right to study painting, poetry, and music.”  John Adams

“Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” General George Patton

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”  Douglas MacArthur

The Masked Man Cometh…and ‘What’s SUP’ in Europe

In recent weeks, the University of Oregon campus has been terrorized by a man in a mask. With the news contained primarily to the students at the school, it has not been common knowledge in Eugene…yet. However, for those studying for finals and playing sports in the evening, the masked man has been all too real.

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This character wanders around in a replica Guy Fawkes mask – not too strange, to be sure, given that the relative baseline for the weird and wonderful in Oregon is much higher than a mask.No, what makes this wise guy alarming is the replica pistol that he carries with him.

We first saw this story reported on May 5th but it ramped up to a new level on May 16th with this story about the creep doing, well, creepy things.

On May 4th, at about 5:30 p.m. a female student said she was walking along 18th street near the softball field and saw the masked man. She said she felt uneasy because he had a holster on his side carrying, which was thought to be a weapon. Later on, it was rumored that this weapon was not real.

“When he saw me looking at him, he pointed directly at me,” the student recalled.

Yeah, that could be alarming and the dude is clearly on shaky ground legally. Indeed, in our humble opinion, if he is deemed to have racial, national or sexual prejudices, he would be guilty of intimidation in the second degree, a misdemeanor (ORS 166.155). I mean, we’re not lawyers, but it’s not rocket surgery to put two and two together:

Intentionally, because of the persons perception of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability or national origin of another or of a member of the others family, subjects the other person to alarm by threatening:

(A)To inflict serious physical injury upon or to commit a felony affecting the other person, or a member of the persons familyor

(B)To cause substantial damage to the property of the other person or of a member of the other persons family.

So far, the authorities have been betwixt and between. The “person’s identity is known to law enforcement and the university” but apparently the relevant authorities do not deem a person following and pointing a replica gun at one of the students to warrant further investigation:

He has not been reported to have made any verbal or physical threats. He has not reportedly brandished the replica or menaced anyone. It is legal to wear a mask and to carry a replica pistol, despite the fact that those behaviors may make some people understandably uncomfortable.

Here is the police chief’s rationale, as reported in The Tab:

UO Police Department’s Communications Director and Public Information Officer, Kelly McIver, said: “There is not an active investigation going on because there have not been any official reports made on this individual.”

McIver explained that even though the police are aware that this individual makes people uncomfortable with his behavior, they cannot do anything because no allegations of him harming someone have been made.

When our Kazi team heard this, our superhero ears were itched. For what better to combat a masked terrorist in the absence of police, with a masked vigilante? Why not buy a couple Batman masks and follow this guy around? He has to go home at some point, right?

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The guy thinks he’s cool but he’s not at all. We wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not even a student; just someone who sits at home all day in the basement. He has a deluded, warped sense of reality and, if we’re being honest, that mask really isn’t working for him. I mean, he must be a pretty ugly dude if he think that mask marks an improvement.


On a lighter note, we  are always fans of the fledgling new sports and group activities. That’s why we built the app, after all, to include things like Ultimate Frisbee.

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If you have never been Stand-up Paddleboarding, you should go. Not only is it a great way to experience the water and nature in a quiet and serene setting, but it is also excellent exercise. Your whole body has to work in order to maintain balance and push forward.

And it is catching on in a big way. We were pleased to find out that Europe has a SUP tour – a series of races throughout the continent. We hope Hollywood figures this out – what better than a comedy about a zero-to-hero SUP champ who takes on and beats his/her European foes?

So stay safe this Memorial Day weekend, don’t worry about some idiot with a mask, and get your friends and family out on the water.

Yours Truly,

Batman (a.k.a Bruce Wayne)

Study break ideas for Spring term in Eugene

As the school year is coming to a close it is hard to keep your head buried in a book. Especially with the nice weather Eugene has been having. If you just can’t stand  reading another page of your textbook, here are some study break ideas as we head towards finals.PKPark

  1. University of Oregon Baseball has several games a week. Home games have some great food and are free for students.p3
  2. If you’re a track and field fan then you’ve picked the right place to live. Its championship season in Tracktown USA. Watch the fastest high school athletes face off at the state meet at Hayward field. The meet runs from May 19-21. Also watch the fastest collegiate runners in the country race at Hayward in the NCAA Championships June 8-11.
  3. p2                                                                        Grab breakfast at Glenwood restaurant or The Original Pancake house by campus to kick off your day. Nothing helps ease the pain of finals like pancakes. Kazi-logotype-CMYK (1)
  4. Download Kazi and find local activities to get involved with today!

 

Part 4: Apps for runners

 

Part 4 of our series is a app different than our previous ones. If you’re a runner, you probably value your sleep. Sleep Cycle is a app that can help you monitor your sleep. It works using a motion detector to track when you toss and turn in the night. Just place your phone next to your pillow and Sleep Cycle will present you with easy to red graphs when you wake up in the morning. The app also has several choices in alarm clock melodies to wake you up in the morning.

 

Pictures from: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sleep-cycle-alarm-clock/id320606217?mt=8

The People’s Park, or From Felon to Phenom

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On February 10 2014, Providence Health & Services signed a deal for naming rights to the Portland Timbers’ soccer stadium. Everyone of course wanted to know the cost. However, Timbers COO Mike Golub has said that it is a “collective wish [the costs] remain a private piece of information.” The information has been redacted from documents sent to the city, Timbers owner Peregrine Sports is privately held (more on that later) and Providence does not disclose the arrangement in its financial filings, presumably because the amount the “charitable organization” doles out to special interests is “immaterial”.

We can speculate that the arrangement was probably something in the order of $20m-$40m over 15 years. The previous naming rights deal with Portland General Electric paid out just over $1,010,555 in 2010. This deal was done before the stadium renovation and before the Portland Timbers became a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise and when average home attendance was just over 10,000. Last year, attendance averaged 21,000+. When you’re talking about double the attendance, a better economy, and an MLS franchise tag, even $3m/yr ($45m total) wouldn’t be crazy. Home Depot pays $7m+ for naming rights in LA where attendance averages just over 23,000.

Still…immaterial, right?

Some Background

But we shouldn’t be too surprised that a publicly-subsidized entity is footing the bill. The owner of the Portland Timbers franchise is Henry Paulson III (aka “Merritt”). Merritt learned the trade at NBA Entertainment and HBO On Demand in the mid-2000s. When he was 33, he purchased both the minor league baseball team Portland Beavers and the Timbers from shady felon Abe Alizedeh. Alizedeh has been in and out of jail and negotiations seem to be never-ending; if convicted of all accounts he would have faced a prison term of 844 years.

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Other People’s Money

But that is just a side-note; the point is that the City of Portland probably leapt for joy when Harvard-educated Merritt came calling with financial backing from his father, the then-current Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. Hank, of course, has a colorful past; the former Goldman Sachs chairman was also the architect of the deal to bail the bank out.

Merritt clearly funded much of the purchase with his dad’s money and funded the stadium renovation with ~$31m of taxpayer-related funds. As he puts it:

MIX: You’ve asked the city to pony up millions in your quest to bring major league soccer to Portland. What do you say to those who call your plans for PGE Park “Taxpayers Field” or ask you to pay for it yourself?
MP: I sleep very easily at night saying, “I’m presenting an opportunity the city may choose to accept and take advantage of, or may choose it doesn’t want to do it.”

In fairness, Merritt had it right and the funding was approved in a 4-1 decision. The lone dissenting voice came from British-born soccer fan Amanda Fritz:

The Spectator Fund would be in better shape if PGE Park sat empty for the next 25 years, than if we go forward with incurring additional debt on a project that can NEVER pay for itself.  Any use of PGE Park that does not involve additional debt would leave the spectator fund in better shape than moving forward with this project.

I honestly hope that MLS soccer succeeds in Portland.  I hope that the day arrives that the revenues generated from PGE Park will pay for the cost of operations and debt service on PGE Park.  In the meantime, I hope that every Timbers fan will hug a Blazer fan for paying for their MLS venue.

Mixed Results

The new stadium does look great…

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Though there are issues with the turf

“We continue to have what I believe to be the single-best artificial surface for pro soccer in the United States,” Merritt Paulson, the team owner, said in 2012.

In March 2013, the team’s senior vice president of operations, Ken Puckett, echoed his boss, calling it the “top artificial playing surface for professional soccer in North America.”

But seven months later, after another season of wear and tear, Portland no longer had such bold bragging rights.

An outside firm hired by the Timbers tested the field in October. The company found the turf passed safety tests but failed certain performance standards for how the ball should bounce and roll, compared to a grass field.

Major League Soccer requires that artificial fields pass those tests, said Susan Marschall, a league spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, former Timber Eddie Johnson continues to push a lawsuit against the Timbers for $9.9m and he recently added Providence Health to the suit.

The lawsuit claims that negligence by the Timbers and their doctors caused Johnson, who retired from professional soccer in April 2012 due to concussion symptoms, to suffer permanent brain injury.

Some people would surely like to link the Providence-Peregrine relationship and say that Providence may not have done due diligence in the Johnson case because of the close relationship with the Timbers. Indeed, the most cynical readers may even say that the doctors had an incentive to ignore the symptoms. After all, if your star player is out with a concussion, you’re probably going to get fewer people watching the game and less exposure for Providence Park.

But we don’t want to speculate; we’ll just present the facts.

And the facts are that there is an awful lot of public money in sports. We all know about city and state funds but much less is known about the not-for-profit funds, which avoid paying taxes through 501(c)(3):

No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

And not-for-profit is very different than no profit, as the current cash balance of $6 billion+ at Providence attests ($’s in thousands):

Management designated cash and investments, YE 2015
Collective investent funds $788,457
Hedge Funds $604,062
Total investments valued using NAV $1,401,506
Total management-designated cash and investments $5,131,109

And so we gulp and admit that we fund a soccer team with every paycheck. But in those moments when the players take the field and lift the MLS Cup, it all seems worth it. So maybe it’s not all bad – it’s just nice to know.

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(title image source: EthioSports)

Upcoming Activities This Weekend 5/28-5/29

The Oregon Ladies take on #14 UCLA in the NCAA Super Regional match-up this weekend. If they win, then they advance to the Women’s College World Series for a shot at the championship. So get out there and cheer on those Ducks! (And have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day.)

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Group Runs and Rides and Games

  • Friday, 5:30pm
    • Eugene YMCA
    • The YMCA hosts 4.0+ tennis drop-in for two-and-a-half hours.
    • See the Kazi app for more details
  • Saturday, 6:00am
    • Eugene YMCA
    • YMCA Open Gym, Basketball
    • See the Kazi app for more details
  • Saturday, 8:30am
    • RunHub Northwest
    • Run Hub Northwest is excited to host Saturday morning long runs (any distance, actually!) from the store at 515 High St. in Eugene.
    • (Photo courtesy of RunHub NW)
    • Link
  • Saturday, 9:00am
    • Alton Baker Park
    • 30 mile ride at 10-12mph, put on by GEARS.
    • Link
  • Sunday, 9:00am
    • Eugene Running Company
    • Runners of all abilities are encouraged to meet for this informal and flexible Community Group Run. Though Sunday runs are typically long runs, runners wanting to GO any distance or pace are encouraged to come and join others for fun and camaraderie.
    • Link
  • Sunday, 9:00am
    • Alton Baker Park
    • 48 mile ride at 10-12mph, put on by GEARS.
    • Link

Sporting Events

  • Saturday, 6:30pm
    • Softball
    • Oregon vs. UCLA
    • Jane Sanders Stadium
    • Link
  • Sunday, 4:00pm
    • Softball
    • Oregon vs. UCLA
    • Jane Sanders Stadium
    • Link

(Image credit: Science-all.com)