Michael's Dispatches

Advertisement and the Virtue of Audacity


I think back to another time in my life, a school election in which advertisement and audacity were crucial.  I’ve written about this election, and my close friend Richard White, in my first book, Danger Close:

After all these years, Richard and I remain very close friends, and we still laugh about Bill Gurley and a long list of other escapades that we pulled off, often through sheer audacity.

Robert Fulghum once wrote: “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten”

In that light, William A. Gurley taught me in high school everything I need to know about a Presidential election.  The lessons of advertisement and repetition were the most obvious.  But the most crucial lesson was in the virtue of audacity.

Danger Close


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matt W · 12 years ago
    I remember when I bought the book. It won the Bill Gurley award. I wondered who he was and what he had to do with literature. It was a nice touch. Be safe Michael
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kevlaur · 12 years ago
    The Iraqis and the Afghanis if Obama gets elected.
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    DBS · 12 years ago
    Great story. Keep up the good work, keep you head down. We may pull this off on Tuesday. Fingers crossed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    xoxoxo Bruce · 12 years ago
    The only difference is, Cheney had to actually produce W.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    kmf · 12 years ago
    nice story - reflects how voters even in high school chose a candidate they hadn't done homework on... decision to elect someone soley on the endorcements from someone other than the candidate...

    guess times haven't changed as we continue to see Americans vote along party lines.

    Hopefully, maybe some Americans have woken up and will start to become active citizens and take this country back to a true democracy... out of the clutches of corp america.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kathy L. · 12 years ago
    This story reminds me of when I was in 8th grade. A classmate, Ruben, and I ran for King and Queen of our 8th grade class. The winners would be determined by penny vote, the one bringing in the most pennies or votes would win. Ruben and I worked hard, we had little fundraisers, classmates had bake sales, etc. to support us. Someone dropped the story on us that the girl running in opposition to us, that her father was wealthy and actually, he was. And we heard he was having a big event for her, a barbeque, to help her get votes. This made our little efforts seem puny and trivial in comparison, and we lost heart, and probably didn't keep fighting as we should have. After all the votes were in, our opposion did win, but not by much at all. Made me wonder if we hadn't gotten demoralized, and had kept up our strong effort, maybe we would have won. Well, we came in second place, which still was okay. But in this Pres election, second place doesn't count. Don't give up, don't get demoralized listening to the Obama machine. Keep on truckin', Vote McCain/Palin.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 12 years ago
    I was completely flumoxed after I googled to find out more about the award.

    Quite audacious of you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Papajimm · 12 years ago
    Ah, you are talking about GWB, aren't you? Although he and Palin are flesh and blood, (debatable), the same analogy applies. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, (broke and unemployed), I face the same shenanigans every time we vote for the board members. Now the board has come out against prop 8 in California and said all SAG members are in agreement. I don't remember them asking me. Oh, democracy, when was thy death? Around the 1700's I'd say. Hey everyone out there. Remember this November, you are not voting for Home Coming King and Queen! You are voting for your lives. Stay safe Micael.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Nagarajan Sivakumar · 12 years ago
    Well... sadly there are enough people to be deceived... i am really scared for the Iraqis and Afghanis if McCain loses... God save them AND America
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pat Crowell · 12 years ago
    Wasn't there a MASH episode that used this story line? No one was able to catchup to the newly assigned Dr. He always seemed to have 'just left the area'. His 201 file showed him as having impeccable credentials. He was always involved in surgery (with a mask on), traveling to help at the orphanage, and died at the end of the episode with no one being the wiser. The beneficiary of his SGLI was the area orphanage.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pat Crowell · 12 years ago
    I recall a MASH episode with the same story line. A newly assigned Dr. with impecccable credentials recorded in his 201 file could never be found. Everytime someone tried to catch to him, he had just left the area. When he was found in the OR he had a mask on. When caught in his quarters, he was asleep. He frequently left the compound on humanitarian missions. Alas he died. The beneficiary of this wonderful soul's SGLI was the local orphanage.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Papasnake · 12 years ago
    Friend Richard produced his winner with only an empty suit. In this election we have a good looking, articulate, body inside the empty suit parading around - all over the world - attempting to fool all the people, all the time.

    Use your brain: Vote Palin/McCain.

    Keep your powder dry, Michael.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    poopie · 12 years ago
    There's a little Bill Gurley in all of us, don't you think?
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    Hector Cruz · 12 years ago
    haha, awesome story, stay safe, from Puerto Rico.
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    Howard E. Morseburg · 12 years ago
    Can you imagine a Cornell grad with such a great personality whose classmates or professors do not remember him ever being in class with them?
    While he may have been 7 years old when Ayers committed his criminal acts, he was in his twenties when Ayers and Dohrn surfaced and made the papers for days on end.
    Can you imagine a boy whose father, mother, mentors, and associates were all commies, but literally has no remembrance of this?
    Can you imagine a young man who studied under Marxist professors and maintained contact with them throughout the years, yet was not influenced by them.
    And can you believe a man who spent 20 years listening to the sermons of a radical anti-white, anti-American preacher, but did nto hear or understand a word of what the preacher said.
    Can you believe how carefully the Debates were structured so that not a single negative aspect of the man was ever questioned or came to light?
    Can you believe? Well, the only thing standing between us and the unbelievable may be the place where he was actually born. And, to think, that Bill Ayers engineered it all, much like your friend Richard. Is this the Manchurian candidate come true?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JC Scuba · 12 years ago
    You have said in several paragraphs what I've been dedicating a couple years of blogging on. Check it out, great stories, YouTubes and my editorials which mirror yours. I've called this guy the Manchurian Candidate since the first time I saw him get his butt kicked in the debates with the other democrats.

    [URL removed by Webmaster]
  • This commment is unpublished.
    carol · 12 years ago
    May I say thank you to Howard, if that's your real name. (Morseburg? hmmm.)

    I'm first up in my debating society tonight, proposing "This house believes the Republicans will win" and I've been drowning in data on why this is the case. However, don't want to bore all the right thinking Brits with too many facts so I'll take your key points, if I may, and spend the rest of the time cracking jokes.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carlos S. · 12 years ago
    Friendship is a very powerful relationship. People everywhere respect true friendship. True, sometimes our friends are imaginary and other people around us confirm the power of imagination by respecting our imaginary friend. McCain and Obama are imaginary friends to many of us. We are in the elite minority of this country if we know either of them or even know someone who knows them. Soon, when one of them is elected and sworn in we will of course find out much more about them for "that one" will be imbued (anointed) with the power of the Presidency of the United States of America. I pray that we as the people of this great nation will find a sense of responsibility and grace to trust this elected person to lead us toward a future that celebrates integrity of character and the rule of law and the possibilities of peace.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    The other Julia · 12 years ago
    I needed a good laugh this morning. If it makes anyone feel better, McCain / Palin won the Heritage Elementary School election last week 440-215.

    I'm trying not to underestimate the silent majority, the people who are out there that no pollster ever talks to and no reporter ever writes about. A co-worker went to a naming ceremony type thing at a huge evangelical church a month or so ago (they don't believe in baptising infants, so it's just kind of an introduction of a new baby) and there was a kiosk in the mega-church lobby signing up new voters. She says her sister-in-law told her they had 2500 takers just in this election cycle.
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    Robert Armstrong · 12 years ago
    When I first heard the name "Barack Obama" a year or so ago, I didn't recognize it but thought that if he was running for president I would eventually find out about him. Well, he is and I still haven't. I've been around for quite a few elections and I don't recall anyone more of a "phantom" candidate. Articulate, personable, a passably good speaker, but what does he really think about the important problems and issues? Since he isn't telling us, his personal actions and associates loom very important in providing keys to his basic beliefs. Unfortunately, when these are inspected, a disturbing picture emerges. Terrotists, radical preachers, big city machine political machines, the list goes on---. I give up, I can't read him, so I'm going to support a candidate who does tell us what he believes in (and so does his running mate), and has a lifelong record of acting responsibly and humanely on these beliefs. Go McCain-Palin!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    mark ervin · 12 years ago
    My fraternity did the same thing when I was in college. We wanted to prove the absurdity of the "bid" process, so we collected 10 guys from 100 and duped the entire chapter into giving Justin McNamara a bid. It was a proud day for fraud everywhere.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sarmajor · 12 years ago
    the election that caused you to post this story carried the same weight as Bill Gurley's then we'd be in great shape no matter wh won. Oh well...
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    Jenica · 12 years ago
    Bill Gurley is a general partner at Benchmark Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm in Menlo Park, California. Gurley was an early investor in green technology with a 2002 Series A investment in Nanosolar. He is listed consistently on the Forbes Midas List and is considered one of technologyƒ??s top dealmakers. Before joining Benchmark, Gurley was a partner at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. He had also spent four years on Wall Street as a research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston. He was considered one of Wall Streetƒ??s premier technology analysts. He covered companies including Dell, Compaq and Microsoft and was the lead analyst on the Amazon.com IPO.

    Guaranteed ROI
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Russell E. · 12 years ago
    The Bill Gurley story is just a small piece of what is a very good book. Thanks Michael for the book, the pictures, and the dispatches. Keep up the good work.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Quick · 12 years ago
    Hey, Michael:

    You occasionally run a copy of Joe Galloway's columns from the McClatchy papers here in your online magazine.

    He has a good one up today. You might consider running it.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mongo · 12 years ago
    "Many esteemed and influential people have been privately debating the question: ƒ??Is it Possible to Win the U.S. Presidency by Fraud and Deception?ƒ? We already know the answer, donƒ??t we?"

    We have known the answer to that for eight years now, ever since GW Bush stole the 2000 election, followed by another, even more egregious theft in 2004.

    That's what you are referring to, right?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ubu Walker · 12 years ago
    Obama won by a landslide in this election. If McCain won by 65-17 , the map would look like this:
    [Note from Web Master: Hyperlink removed]

    Even if Obama lied, McCain and Cronies lied much much more...and much more deceitfully and evilly. Obama is a Muslim? Come on...give me a break. Obama is a terrorist? The way that McCain supporters talk, its like they were trying to get Obama lynched.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    kj · 12 years ago
    We have been allowed very little information on Mr. Obama, mostly only what he wants us to know. Even Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose commented about how little we know (transcript on Rush Limbaugh).

    What truly is amazing and scary is the lack of public exposure to the question of his citizenship, with its complicated history beyond the question of a Kenyan birth. Although suits have been filed in state and federal courts requesting proof of natural born citizenship, no proof has been offered. Mr. Obama has hired several teams of lawyers to answer these suits mostly with requests for dismissal. Some suits are still pending and some have been dismissed because an individual citizen cannot ask whether Mr. Obama is Constitutionally qualified to be President. To ask this question, the person must have "standing", or can be directly and significantly affected by Mr. Obama as President. A person actively serving in the military may be asked to put his life on the line at the request of the President and would have "standing."

    If there is anyone serving in the military that would like to see if Mr. Obama has the citizenship status to be President, do a web search on Obama citizenship lawsuits and contact someone with an active lawsuit. Berg and Donofrio currently have lawsuits pending in the Supreme Court.

    He may have the required citizenship. The question still remains: why hasn't he presented the documents to prove it?

    More information can be found at:
  • This commment is unpublished.
    tankfixer · 10 years ago
    We also had a mythical person at my high school, Pico Alvarado.
    He would write his name on certain peoples lockers.. but only some people and always the same few...
    On the last day the class of 1977 seniors attended classes a funeral was held.. a group of us seniors walking around the halls with black armbands..
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James F. McClellan · 9 years ago
    I was elected to my college's student senate by running an an unknown. Everyone knew me by a nickname I'd been saddled with in high school. So, when I started posting campaign signs with my actual name on them, folks assumed I was working for that guy. Since nobody really knew who that guy was, he turned out to be the least offensive candidate and won by a landslide. :0)

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