The Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio
Brian Gongol

An approximate transcript of the show broadcast on November 25, 2012

Segment 1

Brian Gongol: A couple of months ago a mutual friend of Brian Dean's and mine put up a Facebook album that he called, in which "Jeremy haunts his old friend with their senior photos."

Brian Dean: Yeah.

Brian Gongol: And he had a bunch of pictures of a lot of us who had gone to high school together and he posted these senior pictures. Now, mine I don't know. You know, some people were much more horrified than others. I personally looked at it and went, oh, it looks vaguely like I do today, just somewhat lighter and younger, you know? The hair was a little darker, but you know, there's not like been a substantial transformation. There are other people who, you know, they have glasses in their senior photos and they've switched to contacts now and are horrified to be seen in their glasses or anything like that. You know, other people have that you know, surgery done or whatever. There are lots of different things that can change a person's appearance over time, but looking back at the picture that he had, because he was one of the people who was late to the party to request one of those senior pictures was the least popular of the four that I had taken. Four of them involved me, or three of them rather, involved me in you know, the shirt and tie sport coat on or sport coat off, you know very formal looking.

Brian Dean: Yeah. Ok.

Brian Gongol: The last one was called "Brian stuck in a tree" because there was no other way to describe that.

Brian Dean: [laughs]

Brian Gongol: It was me stuck in a tree. Unfortunately, I don't think anybody documented the other Brian stuck in a tree today, photographically at least.

Brian Dean: [laughs] Actually it was yesterday. Yesterday was exterior lighting day.

Brian Gongol: Yes, apparently.

Brian Dean: At my house. All right, and so I did a number of things and did the lighting along the sidewalk and so on and it's all fine and dandy, but then it got to the point where I needed to get the lighting done for the tree and so the tree grows. I mean it was a stick tree originally and now it's grown quite a bit.

Brian Gongol: And what kind of tree is this again?

Brian Dean: I'm not sure. I think it's a pear tree.

Brian Gongol: Really? Ok.

Brian Dean: I think so.

Brian Gongol: So, we're looking for the partridge.

Brian Dean: [laughs] I guess I was looking for the partridge. It grows mostly straight up. So, I don't know what type of variety that is, if it even happens to be a pear tree. It doesn't grow out. It grows more straight up.

Brian Gongol: Interesting.

Brian Dean: So, it puts on a lot of height that way and so every year I add a strand or two when I do the lighting. Well, now I am to the very top of my ladder.

Brian Gongol: Right.

Brian Dean: So, there won't be any additional I guess, strands or strings of light because then I am up too high.

Brian Gongol: It is just going to get cut off.

Brian Dean: Yeah. Well, at nighttime nobody really knows how big the tree is so it doesn't matter. So, but I got into the tree and climbed up top of the ladder and then I kind of got into the tree to get the lights strung and I realized that there was no way that I could get down.

Brian Gongol: [laughs] Of course.

Brian Dean: Because of how I had sort of twisted my body and the way that the ladder was in a precarious situation anyway. It was not on even ground.

Brian Gongol: What kind of a ladder was it?

Brian Dean: It was a step ladder, a tall step ladder, but a step ladder nonetheless, so I was on the top, not the very, very top, but the top appropriate rung of the ladder.

Brian Gongol: That's good. One more and they start to wobble.

Brian Dean: Yeah, right. I was not at the very top where I wouldn't put a paint can. I was not there.

Brian Gongol: [laughs]

Brian Dean: But it was bad enough. So, I was hanging onto the tree, all right? That's how I was not falling.

Brian Gongol: That's good.

Brian Dean: I did have my cell phone in my pocket and so I thought I need to have someone steady the ladder. Of course, no one was home.

Brian Gongol: Of course not.

Brian Dean: Except for my college daughter and my three year old son.

Brian Gongol: Your three year old- he can handle it.

Brian Dean: My eighteen year old almost twenty and a three and a half year old- that was it and so I called my daughter and of course she didn't answer the phone.

Brian Gongol: Of course not.

Brian Dean: She commented that she, you know heard the phone ring some. My picture, you know that came up when the phone rang and "Why would he be calling me when he's right outside?"

Brian Gongol: [laughs] Just ignored you. What's the point?

Brian Dean: So, she went to the door after getting this phone call, saw me in the tree twisted strangely.

Brian Gongol: [laughs]

Brian Dean: And so she giggled and laughed and I said, I can't get out. There's nothing that I can do. Please hold the ladder so I can jimmy myself around and get down.

Brian Gongol: Of course.

Brian Dean: And she did and then Reeve got out and was running around in the front yard with, you know in his stocking feet and so on and no jacket and all that. You know, so I didn't tell my wife any of this.

Brian Gongol: [laughs]

Brian Dean: I'm talking about it on the radio right now.

Brian Gongol: If she happens to be listening now, she's...

Brian Dean: Yeah. So, anyway I was stuck in a tree yesterday, but the lighting is good.

Brian Gongol: Well, that's good.

Brian Dean: I have no idea how I'm getting those lights out of there.

Brian Gongol: I mean if it was difficult to get them in maybe you just leave them there.

Brian Dean: I don't know. The way that I have things kind of twisted around I think it might do damage to the little tree branches.

Brian Gongol: Oh, one of those.

Brian Dean: Well, you know how windy it is.

Brian Gongol: That is true.

Brian Dean: As windy as it happens to be in Waukee...

Brian Gongol: The wind would probably blow it right off, you know? The way it blows around the flags on my flag pole all the time it will probably just blow the lights right off.

Brian Dean: I put some other exterior lawn illuminated art out as well.

Brian Gongol: Art luminaries?

Brian Dean: Yeah, well not quite that. Actually, it's Snoopy. You know, from like the Charlie Brown Christmas Snoopy?

Brian Gongol: A favorite.

Brian Dean: So, it's similar to that and it has the lights and so on and so forth and I have that thing tied down, tied to the tree.

Brian Gongol: Because you have a history.

Brian Dean: Yeah. I still think that Snoopy on top might go away.

Brian Gongol: Uh oh.

Brian Dean: It still might blow away yeah, but it has lighting and I have it specially wired. I used extra tape and wiring and everything else to keep the Snoopy in there. So, we'll see. We'll see what happens after a real snow storm.

Brian Gongol: I hope it all stays together and I hope that, you know I hope we have a terribly mild winter in which there really isn't a ton of you know, wind or snow, but maybe one in which it stays relatively warm and we can get a lot of rain and recharge the soil because we desperately need that right now. So, whatever it's going to take to recharge the subsurface moisture that would be great and now Brian Dean is prepared for it. I haven't done a thing to put up Christmas lights or anything like that yet, so.

Brian Dean: Somehow I ended up with a blister, one of those sort of blood blisters on my left index finger.

Brian Gongol: Oh, from grabbing and holding onto the tree?

Brian Dean: I guess so.

Brian Gongol: I mean, I can't see how otherwise.

Brian Dean: Then, there's some kind of really odd cut that's right above the cuticle on that same finger.

Brian Gongol: Oh.

Brian Dean: Yeah, it hurts.

Brian Gongol: Yeah, I imagine.

Brian Dean: It's like a paper cut, but it's not a paper cut.

Brian Gongol: Because it's on the wrong side of your hand.

Brian Dean: Yeah, exactly. I think it has to do with the wiring or whatever I did to tie down Snoopy.

Brian Gongol: I'm sure the neighborhood appreciates it and I'm sure your kids appreciate it and your wife appreciates it and everybody's...

Brian Dean: Well, they're all going to appreciate that Snoopy doesn't go flying around the neighborhood.

Brian Gongol: [laughs] Especially the neighbors. They are probably the ones who will appreciate it most if it doesn't go blowing away, so. Well, that's good. I'm glad to hear though that it was a successful lighting ceremony.

Brian Dean: I guess so, yeah.

Brian Gongol: I did not have like that, anything of the same. I haven't done it yet and I don't know. I mean, I'll get around to it, but you know it might take a little time.

Brian Dean: I'm not in the neighborhood where the lighting is over extravagant, all right? It's a relatively new neighborhood within maybe about the past five or six years or so. A lot of the homes are maybe two or three years old.

Brian Gongol: Sure.

Brian Dean: You know, it was my home and then nothing happened for three years and now it's kind of filled in. But no, mostly they're subdued folks. They don't go too crazy with the lighting and I like that. It's not that intense.

Brian Gongol: That's helpful. I do have a neighbor who had them all lit up last week I think.

Brian Dean: Yeah. There were a few.

Brian Gongol: Yeah, and I kind of wanted to send a memo over and just say, hey come on, really? It's not even Thanksgiving yet and it's an early Thanksgiving. You can wait until Thanksgiving and it will be ok.

Brian Dean: Because even the week after Thanksgiving it's still November.

Brian Gongol: Right, the whole thing. So, you know.

Brian Dean: What does that mean? Next year's Thanksgiving I believe is the 28th.

Brian Gongol: Oh, yeah.

Brian Dean: It's late.

Brian Gongol: It'll be late, of course. So, I suppose that's reasonable. I don't know. I'm just- I'm one for waiting at least until after the turkey has been digested before lighting up the Christmas lights for the holidays.

Brian Dean: Even considering that I think I told you in a previous show how on Thanksgiving day it was pretty warm. It was also warm the day before Thanksgiving, but on Thanksgiving day I drove across town to my mother in law's house with the window cracked open.

Brian Gongol: Yeah.

Brian Dean: No coat. I was wearing no coat and it was stuffy, ironically because of the stuffing, but it was stuffy in her home. You know, it was warm obviously from the oven being on and all that, but it was warm in there. It was warm and at my niece's town home, she put on a spread for my side of the family and did a wonderful job and it was stuffy in there as well. This was later at night when it started to cool off still.

Brian Gongol: And then for the day after Thanksgiving...

Brian Dean: Folks who were at Kinnick Stadium and Jack Trice Stadium- they got a little chilly.

Brian Gongol: I do not envy you folks who were out there, so. And then we're looking now at the latest updated climate forecast or climate prediction from the National Weather Service.

Brian Dean: Is this for the winter, or?

Brian Gongol: Exactly, the winter climate outlook from actually it's NOAA's Climate Watch Magazine. It sounds very official, you know? And it shows the entire state of Iowa right now sitting smack dab in the middle of normal temperature range and normal precipitation range, so.

Brian Dean: Normal precipitation- what's that, about 30 inches of snow? Isn't that kind of the norm for snowfall? I'm putting you on the spot, but I think that's about right.

Brian Gongol: Ok.

Brian Dean: Somewhere in that range, about 30.

Brian Gongol: Well see now, I mean we need it so. I don't want to shovel it, but we need it. So, I'm not going to fight it too much, but I did think it was interesting because I think for a while there they were predicting colder than usual, but no snowier than usual.

Brian Dean: Yeah. Right.

Brian Gongol: So, if we can stay a the normal range.

Brian Dean: Now, I'm going to let people know that the last time that I put sidewalk lighting out was the year that we had the most snow in the history of Des Moines.

Brian Gongol: [laughs] Right, 15,000 feet of snow.

Brian Dean: I have put out sidewalk lighting for the holidays.

Brian Gongol: Brian Dean admitting here on WHO Radio that he may have cursed you all. It's entirely possible. If you believe in a jinx he may have just jinxed us all. Not necessarily, though. It's possible, but then again...

Brian Dean: Those were also Peanut characters.

Brian Gongol: [laughs] Well, nobody can blame you for putting up the Peanuts characters.

Brian Dean: They were smashed by tons of snow that had just drifted in.

Brian Gongol: So, nobody can blame you putting up the Peanuts characters even if it may possibly jinx us, even though I don't really believe in you know, a jinx or a hex or anything like that anyway. So, I think we'll be ok, but that's the latest forecast from NOAA saying it should be pretty normal for a winter here in Iowa and I guess after a lot of not normal for the last two years basically, I can handle normal, you know? I mean, I guess normal might be the best we could hope for at this stage.

Brian Dean: I've got all my humidifiers going. I bought a new downstairs whole house humidifier. We're going to be so humid.

Brian Gongol: You're going to be just [xx].

Brian Dean: Well, I was reading about that because I was thinking boy, you know we had all those humidifiers on the farm when I was growing up and the windows were always wet.

Brian Gongol: [laughs]

Brian Dean: So I looked it up and you can have too much humidity in the winter.

Brian Gongol: Oh, yeah.

Brian Dean: You know, I thought you could never have too much humidity, but I guess you can and If you go above say 40 percent you could damage your windows. We happen to have wood windows, at least the area around is wood, and if you have all kinds of condensation then that water has got to go somewhere and it might actually do damage to your window sills.

Brian Gongol: I have had a lot of trouble getting anything ever to go above 40 to 45 percent humidity in my house and that's kind of the range they talk about.

Brian Dean: Yeah, that's pretty standard.

Brian Gongol: You know, 35 to 45 is kind of common and it's important to do something like that too because obviously it's just more comfortable that way.

Brian Dean: It's going to feel a little warmer, I think.

Brian Gongol: It will. It'll feel warmer. It'll be better for anything in the house that is made of wood, you know kitchen tables or you know, trim on the walls, whatever.

Brian Dean: Some people have you know, their entire kitchen, dining area or maybe even their whole home. They might have hard wood floors, wow.

Brian Gongol: Absolutely. Plus, it's better for you from a health perspective because you don't dry out the sinuses and then make yourself susceptible to sickness. Also, important for your computers as well.

Brian Dean: Oh. Yes.

Brian Gongol: Because that way you're not walking around shocking everything that you touch and I don't know if I'm, maybe I'm walking around with some kind of weird voltage going on that I don't know about, but I am naturally very staticky. It doesn't have to get very cold and dry for me to start shocking everything that I touch to begin with. So, do it if you can. Keep the humidity levels. Usually it's like 35 to 45 percent range.

Brian Dean: See, I think it's about 11 percent here at WHO.

Brian Gongol: Oh yeah.

Brian Dean: Yesterday I walked- I was just walking around a little bit, you know to get a cup of coffee when I was here in the morning for WHO and doing [xx]. Every step I took and then I touched a piece of metal, which would be like every door knob, I would get a shock.

Brian Gongol: Yeah.

Brian Dean: Yeah. This is early for that. That's why I went out and bought the other humidifier yesterday.

Brian Gongol: Oh, really?

Brian Dean: Yeah.

Brian Gongol: It just bothered you that much?

Brian Dean: I figured it I am getting shocked here then that would be enough reason to get a bigger humidifier for the downstairs.

Brian Gongol: Well, it's already done enough to- you know, I think I have gotten substantially more chapped since I've been sitting here in this studio.

Brian Dean: Oh, I feel my lips are super dry.

Brian Gongol: Yeah exactly, so.

Brian Dean: I'm probably making that sound, so.

Brian Gongol: If we do that to you on the air...

Brian Dean: Sorry about that folks.

Brian Gongol: Please forgive us. Do forgive us if you can. Now we've got a lot to talk about here on WHO today. I've got a Tin Foil Hat Award coming up for you in a little bit that- it's so disturbing that it, I hope it's not true, but it's from a very reputable source and I have no reason to disbelieve it so it kind of spooks me. We'll get to that in a little bit. Also, a little more on the Hostess bankruptcy because now they're- it looks like they are going to shut down the company and just sell off the pieces of it. That's kind of interesting. Also, just kind of an overall note here on the best way to stay in business for the long term. You know, given that you're looking at Hostess maybe you know probably shutting down here on a permanent basis. Maybe it's time to think about what it takes to keep a company in business for the long run. We'll talk about all that in just a couple moments so stick around and of course, at any time if you want to give us a call, xxx-1040 or xxx-xxx-4295. You can text us on the American Toppers & Accessories text line. That number is xxx-1040 again, xxx-xxx-1040 if you'd like to text us. I'm Brian Gongol here along with Brian Dean and we'll get back to talking about making money and having fun in just a moment here on news radio 1040 WHO.

Segment 2

Brian Gongol: Well, if they've been trying to continue making money and having fun over at Hostess it looks like that's not going to be happening any longer. The bankruptcy judge there very interestingly said in his analysis of the situation and I'm going to quote here. He has serious questions as to the logic behind the decision for the unions to go on strike, serious questions as to the logic behind the decision and I guess I can't disagree with him. It doesn't seem to make sense when it looked pretty clear that the company was either going to have to go come up with a new labor situation or shut down. They appeared to have just chosen shut down, which is kind of disappointing. Obviously, it means that thousands of people are now going to be out of work and that's sad.

Brian Dean: In the bankruptcy world too, doesn't that change everything as far as the employees? If the union contract goes away, even if the company opens up and they start to manufacture at that plant doesn't that change? Couldn't it possibly change everything that way?

Brian Gongol: Oh, yeah. I mean, I would imagine at this stage you know, that somebody could come in from the outside and buy the assets, buy the factories, buy the trademarks, buy the recipes and whatever and come in and start from scratch with a whole brand new labor arrangement and just start from zero. So, it's kind of- you know, it is unfortunate and it's too bad to see that somebody you know, that they didn't see where they were going with this, that really know the options were either figure out something that's going to work, you know make some concessions, find some agreement to go with and go with it or the company shuts down. I mean that's- you know, it's unfortunate that it came to a head like that, but it does remind us of you know, kind of the main principle here which is for any business, no matter what they are and whether they are making Twinkies or whether they are selling insurance or you know, creating the next big tech bonanza or whatever it is.

The key for any business is trying to stay in business. In accounting they call this the going concern assumption, which is that any business that's in operation is there hopefully to continue to be in operation. You anticipate that you're not just shutting down, that you actually want to continue doing what you are doing. Most companies are not like a political campaign for instance that has an end, destination, and then when they hit that destination they shut everything down. Sell off the assets and close up and we're all over. No, there is an objective which is to continue making money for the people who own the company in the long run.

Now, I personally come from the standpoint that you know, that is the objective of a business is to make money for the owners themselves. That's the objective, but that it's really, really, really terribly short-sighted of any business to assume that the best way to do that is by extracting every penny that you can from a company and then you know, running everything on the short run and I think that is one of the reasons that a lot of companies have gone south and have had troubles is they made a lot of very temporary concessions, very temporary plans from I don't know, week to week, month to month, quarter to quarter or year to year, but failed to look at the long run, failed to look at the long term for what they need to do.

I don't think you build a successful business over the long term by just, you know by having this adversarial relationship with your employees. You know, fighting them all the time and fighting your suppliers and fighting your customers and doing everything that you can to be well, kind of obnoxious. You know, pollute the environment as badly as you can. You know, there are lots of people that have that kind of attitude that you know, we'll just get away with what we can while we can until we have to sell her off or shut her down and that'll be ok. I mean, there are people who run their businesses like that and they try to extract every penny that they can from them and you know, and pay themselves off and you know, just walk away with a bunch of cash and leave an empty shell of a company behind. I mean, that has been done. That is done. It's being done today. I guarantee you there are companies that people could recognize that are being run like that today, where somebody is just trying to make as much money as they can in the short term, pay themselves off and get out. That's all they're trying to do. I don't think that's really the way the businesses should be run. I think that not from a legal standpoint I don't think there's- I don't think the law steps in to change this. I don't think the government steps in to regulate this, but I do think that as human beings, ethically what we are supposed to do is try to keep it running because there are other people involved whether it's your employees, your suppliers, your customers, whoever. There are lots of people involved so we want to try to run these things so they will continue working, but there is a trick there I think and it's interesting because I happened to see an article that was addressing this kind of issue just the other day and it was talking about it just at the very same time that we were looking at the Hostess bankruptcy going on.

It was an article actually from the Dallas Morning News. They were talking about small business owners and how a lot of them have found that especially as the recession has come and gone may be not entirely not gone in some places, that they've had to reinvent themselves. People have had to take a look at what they have to do to change or adapt what they are doing so that they stay around for a while to come. My thought that was kind of interesting about that is it reflects or it echoes a thing we've talked about here before on WHO, which is I think the very best way for any business to stay in business is to look for ways to put itself out of business. The very best way that you can continue working and continue making money is to be looking for ways that somebody else might be trying to put you out of business because if you anticipate that potential coming at you, that somebody else might change the game for you and you get ahead of that and you do the changing of the game, you're going to do much, much better than somebody else who has you know, no reason to worry about failure, no track record of what they've been doing and they are willing to come after you because they see a way to make more money. They see a way to do better and I think there are lots of examples out there.

I think there are a lot of companies that have better long term views that are trying to put themselves out of business every day. I would buy into- people have talked about this as the Toyota way and full disclosure here, I have purchased Toyota's stock in part because of this because I think they've got the right system. One their specific things that they do in their factories, which by the way typically are non-unionized because they just don't go that way, but they typically pay their people pretty much just as well as if they were working in unionized jobs, but they specifically say, "We want you to come to work every day and tell us if there is something we're doing that's stupid and if there is a better way to do whatever we're doing tell us. If there is a better way to do something we're going to try it. We want to know what we're doing that isn't working or that isn't the best possible way." So, on a very small scale they are doing the same thing there. They are looking for ways to put themselves out of business or looking for ways that other people would be trying to put them out of business and then putting them into practice. I think that's laudable. I think that's a really good way to run a company. I think that's really a good way to run a lot of things including I don't know, say even a government or political parties. I think the best way to think about running for you know, the long term any kind of organization is to think about ways that threaten that organization. Think about things that could put it out of business or out of operation and if you anticipate those things and you're always thinking about what those changes need to be, what those threats are, what the things are that could put you out of work, I think that's a better way to stay in work over the long term. xxx-1040 or xxx-xxx-4295 are those telephone numbers and lets' see, we've got a couple folks waiting here on the line. Let's get them in. Wendell is giving us a call. Thanks for calling WHO.

Speaker 3: Hello?

Brian Gongol: Hey there. You're on the air Wendell. Go right ahead, you're right there. Ok, Wendell apparently can't hear me now, so. [laughs] We'll figure out what's going on there. I'll get back to him in just a moment. Again, xxx-1040 or xxx-xxx-4295 are those telephone numbers, but the idea here is if you are anticipating what could put you out of work, then you have a better idea of what your competitors are trying to do or what the upstarts are trying to do. There are so many folks out there who I think have been taken by surprise by any number of different changes that have been out there, whether it's the advance of the internet, for instance. There are plenty of businesses that have just kind of been skunked by the advent of new technology on the internet. Movie companies and rental stores, movie rental stores- you know, I obviously have just been destroyed by, obliterated by things like Redbox and by Netflix. Oddly enough, even though they were in that business themselves, didn't seem to anticipate that was the market would want to do over the long term. They didn't anticipate that, didn't plan for it and didn't think ahead and didn't get there first. If they'd been thinking ahead and looking to what those potentials were, looking to what those things were that could put them out of business, they would have seen the stuff coming and I think that's where again people get caught in the middle. There are lots of people who end up unemployed. There are lots of people if it's a bankruptcy end up not getting paid for things that they were owed because somebody wasn't looking at the long run there and I think that's really kind of imperative. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back in just a moment.

Segment 3

Brian Gongol: It's 9:35 at the Brian Gongol show on Newsradio 1040 WHO. Now here's your Newsradio 1040 WHO three day weather forecast from TV 13 mostly cloudy skies, an overnight low of 25. Tomorrow, day two, mostly cloudy, a high of 32 and then on Tuesday, day three, partly cloudy skies, the high 40, but again for tonight mostly cloudy and an overnight low of 25 degrees. Right now in Des Moines cloudy and 37, winds from the north about six miles an hour, which introduces that awful thing we call the wind chill index, which makes it feel like 32 right now. So, it's right in that freezing neighborhood at this stage and I guess we shouldn't be too surprised by it. It is now mid to late November, so that's just kind of how things roll, but you know, an overnight low of 25 at least the clouds are going to help keep some of the heat in instead of just letting it all escape in the upper regions of the atmosphere, so I guess that is the positive thing.

Trying to look at the bright side here on WHO and we were just a moment ago looking at not necessarily the bright side here because there is no bright side to this bankruptcy over at Hostess, I mean other than the fact that somebody will of course acquire the brands and you know, the recipes and those kinds of things. I mean that's going to happen. Whom will do that? We don't know, but it will be done and so it'll be ok. You know, in the future you'll still be able to get your Twinkies. If that's what you're worried about that's fine, but there will be a lot of folks who unfortunately will lose their jobs. There are going to be a lot of suppliers who are going to lose money and of course there are going to be a lot of you know, stores that wanted to sell the products that won't have anything to sell and consumers who wanted to eat the food and they're not going to get that chance either. So, it's not happy. It's not a happy circumstance that this has occurred. It's pretty unfortunate. Now, how we deal with it- that says something about you know, the best way to run a free market system and how people anticipate potential threats to their businesses like what Hostess should have done, but apparently didn't. That tells you a lot about how they're thinking, whether they are thinking for the long term or if they are just looking at the very short run and trying to, you know pull out every last penny before the whole house of cards fails, and there are companies being run like that today. So, it's important to anticipate those things and to be looking for what you can do to actually keep operating five, ten, twenty, maybe even fifty years from now. You know, there are a lot of brands that have been around that length of time including the Twinkie and you would think that it would be, you know you have an obligation maybe to think ahead on how to keep that around for that term. We've got a couple folks here who again called in at xxx-1040 or xxx-xxx-4295. Wendell wanted a chance to speak up. Thanks for calling WHO.

Speaker 3: Hello? Can you hear me now?

Brian Gongol: I can hear you just fine. How are you doing?

Speaker 3: Good. I guess I just think that after the negotiations broke down so quickly, I just think both parties think that the government just going to come in like they did with General Motors and Chrysler and bail them out. There's 18,500 workers here. There all going to- you know, if they're union workers they are going to Washington and say, "You bailed out GM. Why won't you bail out us"? [xx] We're the ones that are going to get stuck with it. I just- go ahead, I'm sorry.

Brian Gongol: Oh, no, no. You bring up an interesting point. I don't know if they really did think that or not, but you're absolutely right that it did introduce that mindset to people's heads that maybe we are too big to fail. Maybe the jobs are enough to justify government taking action because then a party or another gets to take credit for quote, unquote saving those jobs, which is something that they very much like to do.

Speaker 3: I guess I would- I mean I would disagree with that. I think we are a country that has dealt with very large corporations and bankruptcies in the past in our history and I mean I'm not saying it's good, but sometimes it's not as bad as people think. I mean, if you look at GM would they be a stronger company now? They might be. I mean, they would have been broke up into you know, Chevy, Pontiac. You know, individual other companies might have bought that name and now we'd have stronger cars coming out of those and not having us own them, which I don't think it's a [xx] idea for the government to be owning large corporations. [xx] You know, it comes to actually picking winners and losers. If they don't do this for Hostess, I truly think the workers at Hostess have a legitimate gripe with the Obama administration saying, "Why did you pick them as winners and us as losers"?

Brian Gongol: You bring up a very interesting hypothesis there, Wendell. It is entirely possibly they could ask that question and there isn't necessarily a justifiable answer other than, "Well, we wanted a bunch of votes in Michigan," which is you know, one way that could be spun.

Speaker 3: Well, we all know that's true, but on the other side of it my personal feelings are I think you know, Hostess went bankrupt [xx]. Somebody's got to pick up Twinkies. Somebody's got to pick up Ho Ho's and stuff like that because it is too good of a name to just let go away. Will the company be reorganized and everything? It certainly will. Will the union [xx]? It certainly will. You know, upper management is going to go away. I mean, there's going to be a lot of changes. I believe that this happens, but it also means they'll probably come back stronger in years to come, you know?

Brian Gongol: One would imagine that too is one of those areas that I get. I do sometimes get a little uncomfortable with the way that bankruptcies are conducted sometimes because it means that there is essentially a free ride available then for the people who do get to stick around with those companies who [xx] go out of business, and it's at the expense of, or at least to the disadvantage of their competitors, you know? So, if you get to write off all of your debts or you get to write them off on pennies on the dollar and you get to get that fresh start, on one hand it's good those assets, those factories aren't going to waste. You know, the recipes aren't going to waste. The brands aren't going to waste and the employees don't have to you know, sit in the unemployment lines forever. That's one thing, but on the other hand it's not necessarily fair to the companies that toughed it out through maybe the same different financial times, but did so without having to turn to bankruptcy, which is you know for instance what happened to Ford and Honda and Toyota and all the other auto makers when there were bailouts for GM and Chrysler. You know, so you're right. It does bring up- it can bring back a stronger company, but it also can in that way, in my opinion, at least also put those companies that did the right thing at a disadvantage, which is also, I am just uncomfortable with, not saying that we can change anything about it, but I'm not all that comfortable with that outcome either.

Speaker 3: That's why I buy Ford now.

Brian Gongol: [laughs] There you go, Wendell. I appreciate your call.

Speaker 3: Hey, no problem.

Brian Gongol: Thanks so much. 9:45 here at Newsradio 1040 WHO and again you can give us a call at xxx-1040 or xxx-xxx-4295. You can text us at the American Toppers & Accessories text line. That number is xxx-1040. John from [xx] just texted in a similar comment. He was saying there are rumors now that Radio Shack and Best Buy could also be going out of business and that's an entirely possible as well.

Brian Dean: Radio Shack has been around a long time, you know of bigger kinds of electronic companies, you know as far as being a retailer. Radio Shack has been around as long as any of them.

Brian Gongol: Oh, yeah absolutely and the thing is now they are each facing their own troubles. There's no question about that and the last I recall and this is from a couple of weeks back the guy essentially who had started Best Buy and sold it off to others is now back trying to buy it back and he wants to take it private again because right now it's a publicly traded company, and they're both in a bit of trouble in essence because they're selling electronics which are, it's kind of in essence in a lot of ways like selling food at the grocery store, but only the perishables because very little of what you can sell in those stores stays good. I'm going to use air quotes here around good, for a long time. You know, the TVs go out of style, you know the music comes and goes, the games. I mean, if you're carrying stuff for Play Station 1, it's not doing you any good right now. People aren't buying that stuff. You know, if you're carrying stuff for the oldest version of the Xbox it's not going to do you any good. You know, you have to keep up with what the consumer tastes shift to and the technology does improve so quickly it's very difficult to be in those roles. So, it's entirely possible that these companies could have themselves a lot of trouble in the mid to long term future, maybe even the shorter term. I mean, you know Best Buy has been having a bit of trouble of its own, right? They've shut down a lot of stores in places, some in the United States, a lot of them abroad. They've looked at that and said, "You know what? Our bigger box model isn't working. It's time to shift to a smaller, more customized kind of format," and at least they are trying to adapt, but the question is, is it going to be enough? For Radio Shack I mean, man they're in a tough marketplace because a large portion of what they have historically been known for selling is stuff that you can easily get online.

Brian Dean: Right.

Brian Gongol: And on the stuff that they were used to selling in high volumes. I mean, you're not going to make a ton of money selling tiny fuses $2 at a time.

Brian Dean: Right.

Brian Gongol: You know, but at the same time back when they were only way you could get those things hey, they had a lock on the market, but when they are no longer in that position and when people can just go online and order those things having them delivered direct to the doorstep in a couple of days well, that's a much more challenging environment to be in. We go back to my question, which is are you looking at the ways to put you out of business? If you aren't looking at the ways to put yourself out of business, don't pretend like somebody else isn't. That's the thing and I think that's the very best way for any business of any sort to stay in business for the long term and of course, I don't think this is exclusive to business, either. I mean, there is also a national thing here as well. I just saw a story on a website called Gizmodo. If you've never heard of it, check this out. It's an interesting kind of tech oriented site. It's called, and this article was about how in China, which we know has a very interesting relationship with the United States right now, they are looking at building a skyscraper, the world's tallest skyscraper and they want to build it in 90 days.

Brian Dean: Whoa.

Brian Gongol: Yeah, 90 days they think they can build this and calling it sky city. This isn't a joke or anything. They are looking at building this thing 2800 feet tall almost, so.

Brian Dean: Over 200 stories then, at 20 feet?

Brian Gongol: Right, 220 is what they are anticipating and they want to build it in 90 days and the thing is, one of the groups that was behind building this is also one that previously worked at the Burj Khalifa, which is world's tallest building right now, formerly the Burj Dubai. So, it's not like they don't have experience building tall buildings, and part of what they want to do is to do a lot of prefab construction on this. You know, in the United States prefab sometimes gets a bad name, a bad rep. They're going to use it to build the world's tallest building. So, in a way here I simply point this out not to say "fear China." They are going to build the world's tallest building and they're going to do it so quickly that we couldn't even get some of the permits passed in 90 days. I mean, you know I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is, it's worth looking at what they are doing and if what they are trying to do is, in a way, put the United States out of business, you know? Again, I'm not saying here by any stretch of the imagination do I envy the Chinese system. Do I want us to switch to the Chinese political system? Absolutely not. I hate all of it. Absolutely not. Authoritarianism just makes my stomach churn, but we do have to ask ourselves as a country from time to time, is China doing what it can to try to, again, air quotes here, put the United States out of business? Are they doing things to try to do that? If that's the case, what do we need to be doing to ensure that doesn't happen? What do we need to be doing to make ourselves smarter, stronger, faster, better, more efficient? Whatever it is to make sure that we don't get toppled from first place. I think that's an important national question and unfortunately, I don't feel like that's a question that gets asked a lot when we have some of the ridiculously stupid political arguments that we have, whether it's on Capitol Hill or whether it's in the process of running through an election where everybody cares more about, "Oh, did you tie your dog to the top of the family station wagon 35 years ago?" That becomes the issue that we're talking about? That's not an issue. That's ridiculous is what that is. The question is do we have the national leadership necessary to ensure that China, which is I think, kind of trying to put us out of business. Are we anticipating what they are trying to do and doing our best to get ahead of that? I think it's essential that we think like that. I wish there were more of it going on. We have to take a quick break. We'll be right back and I'll continue on the Brian Gongol show on Newsradio 1040 WHO.

Segment 4

Brian Gongol: It is 9:55 here on Newsradio 1040 WHO. I am Brian Gongol here along with Brian Dean as we talk about making money and having fun. Our "Yay Capitalism, Baby" prize for this week- there was a list put out the other day about some of the most anticipated popular technology gifts for 2012. They were talking about things like Microsoft Surface, this brand new tablet that Microsoft has that has come out and out running on that new operating system that they built for it in essence and so that's out. The Amazon Kindle Fire HD Super whatever megatron, you know Apple and their iPad mini, all of these things, there's a lot of new stuff coming out right now and a lot of it is getting a lot of hype. To my mind, the [xx] prize component to this is there is so much research going into making all of these tools that we use better all the time that really we're not paying for, per se.

I mean, you're buying this stuff and you're buying the technology, but you're buying it after somebody has spent the money on the research and development to make it happen. This is why I am such a big fan. You know, it's why I am such a big fan of those inducement prizes or innovation prizes. So, if the government were to say, "You know, look we want to solve the problem of let's say, nitrates in the water in Iowa. Come up with a solution for this. We're not going to commission you to do it. We're going to say if you come up with a workable solution that you can prove works, we're going to give you x number of dollars", a hundred million dollars, I don't know, whatever it is. Whatever it's worth it to us to solve that problem. We as consumers in essence have this same experience all the time in that we get to have these, reward these companies with their innovation by giving them the prize of our cash to get that stuff. Not everybody is going to get one of these things. I mean, these are not cheap items. These are probably more than most households are going to go out and buy. I mean, you're not going to get a Surface, a Kindle, an iPad mini and a new Galaxy S3 all at once. I mean, for most households that's kind of silly, but you’re going to look for the one you want most and you may be willing to spend the couple hundred dollars that it takes to get one of these things, and you are rewarding whichever company you choose to buy from for having developed the specific kind of technology that works for you. So, that's why I'm a big fan of these inducement prizes or innovation prizes as some people like to call them, and I wish that we saw our government using them more often rather than just throwing, you know as they do, what is it I think $20 billion a year at the Department of Energy and just kind of hoping that something sticks? You know? I'd rather have large prizes out there pushing innovation in that direction by saying, "There's a big reward if you can come up with the answer."

Brian Dean: How is this different from economic development money?

Brian Gongol: Oh, yes.

Brian Dean: There's only two minutes to go. Sorry.

Brian Gongol: [laughs] No, that's ok because to me, that economic development money that's put out there is a gamble on what might happen. You know, whether it's offering tax breaks or whether it's offering forgivable loans or grants or whatever it is, and don't get me wrong. I understand why companies ask for them. It's because every state in virtually every community gives them out. So, of course they are going to ask for them and I understand why communities and states feel like they have to because everybody else is doing it. That doesn't mean it's healthy. That doesn't mean it's good for any of us because it's always a speculation of what might be. In essence, just like Wendell was talking about it's government picking winners and losers and it's picking them before there's even been a race. That's what really makes it kind of obnoxious at least in my view. Now, I see these, these inducement or innovation prizes, which is something totally different. What those are saying, "Here is a problem that we know we have and we have to spend money to fix the problem, and it's worth something to society to fix that problem. Now, here's what you're going to get if you solve it and we're not paying until you solve it". That to me is a very efficient way to get things done and I wish that we were more open to using those in this country. I think it would do us a whole lot of good.

Now, our Tin Foil Hat Award for this week- there is a Senate bill currently under consideration that would give 22 different federal agencies the right to look at your email, your Twitter messages and your Google Docs as well as many other things without a warrant and they wouldn't have to tell you that they've done so for a week or even longer after that. Now, if I were to just make this up out of the clear blue sky, I mean this is just crazy. It sounds ridiculous, but it's actually coming to us in this report on this situation. It actually comes to us from a very legitimate source on CNET. I'll post a link to it on the Brian Gongol Show at Read it for yourself and see if you are as spooked by it as I am. We'll be back next Sunday night here on Newsradio 1040 WHO.