Saturday, July 12, 2008

wereallnumberone #4: In it to Win it! On Election Season and Bad Political Rhetoric

Wrote this during election season last year. Apropos discussion to the presidential election season, too ...

Its election season, which means that the aspiring politicians and incumbents are hard at it trying to get votes, not only lobbying at their fundraisers and at orchestrated events and p.r. ops, but also attending many other public functions where you, frankly wouldn't see these folks (e.g. white politicians at black Baptist churches; black politicians in Jena, La. after dark, etc.). One thing that you also often see is the emergence of political action committees and grassroots organizations calling for "positive change" of one sort or another -- you know, less abortions, more guns in schools, less Mexicans on earth (what up Arizona Republicans?), and the like.

Today, at my weekly Lions' Club meeting, a fella came in and spoke about "Blueprint Louisiana" such a grassroots organization calling for aspiring politicians to sign on to their 5 point plan in order to garner their lobby's votes and considerable wealth and favor. Their five step plan -- which frankly, is not innovative, but reasonable enough, I mean, you hear it and you're like "duh, yeah, lets get kids health insurance" -- reads like straw man argument 101 and will likely die in its nascent stages like most other movements of its sort. Furthermore, I was irked by their misuse of the term "grassroots," given that the organization is fronted by a wealthy, internationally regarded cardiologist and made up of the state's most wealthy and powerful businesspersons … i.e. not organic (in that its interests are primarily financial ad self-interested rather than directed at needed societal change) not from the bottom-up, and not directed at the establishment (these people are 'big white daddy').

So when this front person went on and on about integrated health care, education and ethics reform in the state legislature -- basically all political and economic and no social, a thought ran through my head, as is my wont. Somehow, we were having a conversation about perceptions of Louisiana that lead people who are from Louisiana to leave ASAP, people outside of Louisiana to avoid coming here (including many corporations) and people who manage to leave Louisiana to rarely return … and no one managed to bring up cultural perceptions of Louisiana, as a red state in the "backwards" south that is unfriendly to its black, poor inhabitants and xenophobic in its treatment of outsiders.

Or the perception (read:reality) that wealth here is preserved carefully and maintained by incestuous agreements between financially and politically powerful families, and our justice and legislative systems are as corrupt as the movies. People don't think about welcoming and encouraging diversity -- they think about Hurricane Katrina and drowning, disadvantaged, and abandoned black folks who left (and still haven't returned). They think about backwards ass Jena, Louisiana, where there is an effing "Whites Only" tree and a DA and police force that actively practices segregation and Jim Crowism -- unsanctioned by local or state government.

And when I mentioned this today, the speaker, an otherwise cool and well-rehearsed chap went all "Dyslexicon[1]" on us … he stammered, paused uncomfortably, said the word "diversity" about 16 times, and even mentioned one of his best friends, who is of course black. He also put his hand over his heart, which is universal for "I really really feel you and understand you please believe me."

And it hit me, here was someone proposing far reaching political measures for Louisiana's next decade and he didn't even have a na├»ve plan for addressing racial and cultural inequality … he didn't have a plan at all. He wasn't uncomfortable talking about race … he didn't even bother to think about it. He'd presumed that racial inequality wasn't even a problem, certainly not one of our top 5 problems. Certainly not one of the top problems for an all-white, all-wealthy commission of folks.

What. The. F**k?

Anyhow, I enjoyed his answer. I enjoy the discomfort that exposing (or having exposed, as it occasionally happens to me) ignorance brings. But I was upset that he didn't just simply say "I didn't think about that, but I will now." Because he clearly hadn't.

So, I offer to him, and anyone else out there, the top ten rhetorical constructions used when politicians have to address "diversity questions" from "ethnics." Basically, it's a bullshit meter. Say these things and we'll know you're lying every time. And I know I'm biased toward racial division … I'm not claiming to be addressing all areas of diversity here.

10) I'm so happy to be here with you (ethnic group) people!
No you aren't. And that's okay. I know frankness won't play well in this situation "a la, "I gotta tell you, I thought I'd be uncomfortable around all you coloreds, and when the big fella in the back gave me some, whaddayacallit? Dap? I peed myself a little bit." but the middle ground, it seems to me, might work. Maybe "I won't stand here and tell you that I am in my element here, or claim to know or understand your struggle … but I am here in the spirit of understanding it a little bit better, and I am the candidate who is willing to listen and work so that we can build bridges over these unnecessary gaps." I don't know, I'm spitballing here.

9) We need diversity!
Straw man. Cant be argued with. No one will say diversity isn't a good thing (even the KKK needs jew-haters and catholic-haters to compliment their n-word haters). In spite of the ever present need and the positives of having a diverse workforce and classroom, there are still significant barriers. Try "diversity is a cornerstone to successful business and educational practices. We don't need empty promises, we need candidates who truly understand what diversity is, what we can do to achieve it, and what historical and cultural barriers prevent us from achieving it."

8) I care about (ethnic group) people!
A) don't say it if you don't mean it.
B) if you have to say it, you probably don't mean it.
C) do you have to say you care about white people? Isn't that obvious?
D) just don't effin say it. You cant win.

7) (Go to Black Churches)
If you don't normally go to Black churches, don't up and start. If your ass cant clap on 2 and 4, you will look like a plum idiot, and everyone will say "bless your heart" which is our code for "Are you retarded?"

6) (Go to any "Ethnic" events, even if your ph.D. is in Ethnic Group Studies)
You're still not an expert. Not any more than my ph.D. in rhetoric would allow me to go to Greece and be like "Hey, know what you guys should do? Bring back the Vomitorium. That was the shit!!! Oh, and pederasty with your students! Also the shit."

5) I feel your pain.
Skipping lunch doesn't mean you understand hunger. Losing money in the stock market doesn't mean you understand poverty. Visiting Costa Rica last summer doesn't mean you understand the difficulty of speaking a foreign language as your non-native tongue. Don't claim that rhetorical space unless you own it -- and having to get your law degree from Vanderbilt because you couldn't get into Columbia doesn't count.

4) I'm down with (ethnic group) people.
Now if you said "I fux with black people" I would vote for your ass imm-mee-juht-lee and I suspect black folks would follow suit.

3) The Republican Party (verb) ________________
We just don't like y'all. I cant explain it in brief … we feel the same way, by and large, about mayonnaise, Tom Arnold, the Dave Matthews Band, and 401 ks. Just kidding about the 401K ... I max my 403b out. Hate if you want, I'm not trying to be able to fold my money ... I want that unfoldable s@#t.

2) I have a (ethnic group) friend …
I tell a lot of stories, right? Y'all ever hear me say "I once had this white female friend" or "middle class white heterosexual" friend and then go from there? If I did, wouldn't that make you think I didn't have a whole lot of friends of those persuasions (if I spent time remarking about it)?" Look, the whole "I'm not racist because I have a sister's baby momma's cousin's high school roommate who had a friend who once saw Arsenio Hall on the street and didn't call the cops or anything" is literally the most pedestrian defense available. Just avoid it.

1) I'm color blind.
That's unfortunate. Be careful in traffic. The green light is the one at the top. We're the ones, typically, with the kinkier hair, if that helps. It doesn't matter if you act on your perceptions of racial difference -- you see them. You can't not see them. What you do when you see it is a whole other bunch of strange grapes. Just say that -- "As an American, we have no choice to be cognizant of racial difference, given our country's unfortunate division of the races which stems back to the origins of "America" as a concept. However, given our understanding of that history, which is crucial, it is of the utmost importance that we work together to retrain ourselves not to think of divisions, enmity, and hatred when we encounter people whom we perceive to be different from ourselves, but understand that we have the potential to rewrite the pernicious histories of racial division and unrest upon which many believe this nation to be built." Again, spitballing.

So yeah, if you're uncomfortable with people of different races, own it. And education can rid you of it. So can listening, talking, and being among people not like yourself. I don't like Sex and the City, American Idol, and John Mayer, but I get why a lot of people do. So kick it with someone not like you. Kick it with a lot of people not like you. You'll learn very quickly, if those people mean anything to you, how not to sound uninterested and lacking in compassion when among them -- especially when seeking their vote.

[1] Mark Crispin Miller's apt designation of Bush's linguistic faux pas, which he ties to his treatment of issues that are unimportant to him (i.e. Bush borders on eloquent when he defends the war, and was even convincing when he defended the tax cuts. He sounds like a retarded tourette's sufferer, however, when he talks about the middle class, public education, or Kanye West).

NY OIL verses 9th Wonder

Thermonuclear tracks. Download it onto MediaPlayer, crank it back to about .75/.80 speed and try not to bob your head til C3 snaps.


NYOIL Download it here

Bi-Weekly Post at the Real Views

I'm now the sports feature writer for "The Real Views," a multicultural newspaper in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Randy Stelly and Carol Forsloff, the co-owners, are local political activists and real soulful people. I'm featured in the bi-weekly magazine as an editorial writer, focusing on intersections of race, politics, and sport in America. Check it out, show that online love and get them ad revenues poppin. 'Preciate ... and more to come.

http://www.therealviews.com/specialfeature5.html

Thursday, July 10, 2008

wereallnumberone #3: A Prayer for Death

Seems like there's so much competition to be the most racist and ignorant pundit when it comes to criticism of Obama. So much so that I simply dont have the time and energy to devote to explicating each one of them.

But I do have just enough energy to devote to praying for each of those idiots to die.

The Incas have one, but I think its if you're old and you're praying for your own death. Like for last rites or what have you. Not interested in that. Anybody got any good ones for when you wanna pray for somebody else to perish? Hardcore? Like the douche author of this article?
http://www.indyeastend.com/1editorialbody.lasso?-token.folder=2008-01-23&-token.story=72453.113117&-nothing
I'm starting mine with "May Weste and Easte Egge crack downe the middle and ye fall between after an attacke from the Cloverfielde monster -- and you get hit in ye nutsacke on the way downe ..." Basically this http://www.lillypulitzer.com/docs/upload/Hamptons-Style-9.4.06.jpg + http://dougbot.com/forum/cloverfieldPart2B.jpg resulting in http://www.badastronomy.com/pix/bablog/2007/cloverfield_damage.jpg.

Why am I praying in stereotypical Old English?

Maybe I should try it in Olde English (malt liquor style). Seems to me that they'd like a black guy with a doctorate in black stuff praying in jive. (btw, word? Harvard Law is "black stuff?" Perhaps I haven't been to Harvard in a while, but arent their only three black graduates like Obama and these guys? http://moviesmedia.ign.com/movies/image/howhigh-method-red_2.jpg).

Ok here it go:
"Yo mama is a man. Maine, phuck yall, muhfukiz. I'm so hood that I have a muslim name (big up, Khaled!)."

Because Riyadh is sooo gangstuh. Like Colors gangstuh. Like Gangstalicious gangstuh.

Anyhow, my letter to the editor was as such:

"Classy move publishing "Why I Should Be Our Next President" by Yo Mama Bin Barack. While Mr. Obama was getting his doctorate in black stuff (i.e. a law degree from Harvard, a school Bush couldn't get into because none of his blood relatives attended) I'm sure the author was getting his degree in journalism from Bob Jones, or perhaps Liberty or some other unaccredited hack southern school where the ban on interracial dating is based on the biblical passage about men not engaging in coitus with goats. I can't imagine an accredited school would want their program affiliated with such a backwoods racist (blueblood though she or he may be, not like you need an education to live in the Hamptons, only the right lineage).

I hear they are reprinting the article in the Jena Times. Kudos. I guess the next installment will be on Mitt "Big Love" Romney or Rudy Jewliani and his ability to pinch pennies into copper wire. (See what I did there with Jew? No seriously, you can have that one. But don't you steal my Billary Cinton!!!).

Seriously, is the writers strike bogging you guys down, too? If you're going to do racist humor, perhaps Lisa Lampanelli is available. Or Clayton Bigsby. Otherwise, the author should stick to his day job. Day job ... btw, are you familiar with that quaint notion?

Here's to East and West Egg splitting down the middle and all of you falling in, Diddy, Martha and all. Please dont bother responding as I am not interested in dialogue with you. Clearly, the author of this tripe is not interested in honest dialogue, either."

PWNED

And yes, I signed it "PWNED."

~Wb

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wereallnumberone #2: "#1 With a Hollow Point Bullet: Black Family Mal Use"

An Ode to J. Alfred Sumner

Maybe the whole trick is the set up to avoid the fall,
Maybe you're thinking you know what's best for us after all,
Maybe its not blackface steppen fetchit rehash all the while,
Maybe the whole point ain't to show us gettin buck and wild,
Maybe the purpose ain't to ingest culture, vomit bile,
Maybe it ain't Steinberg tellin' Sampson how to rear a child,
Maybe the brazen images insiduously guile,
Maybe the fault is all our own that we ain't turned the dial,
Maybe, just maybe Robert Tipton-tip-drill-Diddy-style,
Maybe a remnant of a days' past dollar turnstile,
Maybe its ingredients for soul food made from files,
Maybe those recipes are pulled from cookbooks found on aisles.

Maybe the whole trick is the set up to avoid the fall,
Maybe you're thinking you know what's best for us after all,
Maybe its money Dieacom is rakin' by the mile,
Maybe its business, nothing personal said with a smile,
Maybe the culture vulture circles overhead so vile,
Maybe they'll swoop as soon as we lie dead atop the pile,
Maybe we're carrion so much luggage here in exile,
Maybe we're strange fruit hanging to be picked, so versatile,
Maybe the formulas are stale and we need to get riled,
Maybe we need to swing a hammer, screamin' "change it while..."
Maybe we need to unplug, find new ways to express style,
And bet we know, definitively, what's best for us all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wereallnumberone #1: Athletic Fundraising

So, my day job (and, all too often, my night and weekend job!) is athletic fundraising. I work for Northwestern State Athletics, and more specifically, I work for 300 young men and women who compete as student-athletes for the Demons (www.nsudemons.com). I take great umbrage with folks who decry the arms race in college athletics --at least the ones who are drinkin hella haterade about it -- even while I often sympathize with the thrust of their message. Would that there were more people and companies who cut big fat checks for the naming rights to Chemistry buildings and campus pavilions the way they do for naming rights to football stadiums and athletic fieldhouses. Of course, I say that, but large research universities garner plenty of support from industries in the private sector, from philantrhopic foundations, and many donors to college athletics are also the most generous donors to higher education. College athletics can inspire incredible feelings of amity, spirit, and pride in one's alma mater -- not to mention unity and excitement on campus and in the community. When its done right (and I know, its all too often done all wrong ... big ups Vince Dooley, SMU, Coach Tarkanian!) college athletics adds so much to the college experience (he said, as Sperber, Zimbalist, and the Knight Foundation swirl in his mind ...)

Anyhow, we compete as fundraisers off the field the way student-athletes compete on the field. We want to secure funding in order to provide the very best experience for them, to help coaches recruit the finest young men and women to represent the U, to win more games, so we can raise more money. That's the drill.

This past year? #1 year for NSU Athletics in # of Athletic Endowment commitments (8 new ones), #1 year in Gift-in-Kind commitments (~$350,000), highest total of contributors to the scholarship fund in the last 3 years, and completion of the first facility capital campaign in campus history (a three-quarter $mil project).

Until next year. Being #1 is 366/25/8.

Ok ... now a little bit about the lighter side of athletic fundraising ...

A report came through on cfaa-elite clips, basically like a Reuters for college athletic administration news, on donor profiles and annual giving levels at the University of Cincinnati. In "Cin" city, for those of you who don't know, basketball is king, though football has had some good years in there, and the program is a respected D-I competitor in the Big East conference. Sure, its been tough going in Bearcat land since Bob Huggins left town (no, not the Bob Huggins of Dorset Coast Forum fame, though you are a nerd-virgin hero for jumping to that http://www.dorsetcoast.com/media/images/e/j/DrBobHuggins.jpg .... this Bob Huggins http://www2.jsonline.com/sports/marq/image/2002/hug222.jpg, you carbuncular freak), and the former perennial stalwart in basketball has seen better days, but all in all, a respectable program with strong regional buy in (tough state, Ohio is ... they got OSU to compete with and, in my opinion, two of the most awesome mascots in college athletics, the Zips of Akron http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGIH_enUS211US211&q=%22what+the+eff+is+a+zip%3f%22 and the Flashes of Kent State) and good national recognition.

Their fundraising/development area brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support the growth and maintenance of their athletic department and Bearcat teams. Now I know that amount seems egregious, in the face of state and federal budgets being cut at public universities, and I know it seems silly that rabid and irrational fans would give their hard earned money to athletic departments when academic units can barely afford to pay their professors and adjunct labor is, as a result, overused to fill classes with teachers even though those teachers dont get paid enough or get benefits while the athletic department swims in cash and the administration supports the proliferation of athletics because it is often self-sustaining (even though, read the reports, they often aren't, thats just what they tell you, many athletic departments are in the red!!! its called an arms race and Ollie North is a peon compared to Bobby Purcell, you better believe it) ...

Wait, what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, fact of the matter is, athletic departments do important things for the Academy that many people don't realize. Their success elevates local, regional, and often national recognition for their respective universities. They provide their host universities, often, with great PR and give them an opportunity to break into markets across the nation. My university, Northwestern State, used to be known as that school in the town where they filmed Steel Magnolias.
"Hey what's your mascot? The Northwestern State Gritty Performances by Olympia Dukakis"? http://www.imdb.com/gallery/granitz/5169/Events/5169/OlympiaDuk_Pimen_10312008_400.jpg.html?hint=group

Now we're known as the guys who beat Iowa and got their coach fired. Much cooler. No offense Olympia, youre still in my top ten "Women whose names sound like they could be a terrible presidential candidate's mom." Number one on that list? Barbara Bush. Two times. Take that take that ...

Anyhoo ... Athletic departments inspire donors, not just ones who give to athletics, but ones who help endow professorships and research positions. And AD's provide scholarships to a segment of students that universities often overlook -- young people of color, many from underserved neighborhoods. And before you say an effin word about their merit, check the legacy list at the Ivy League schools and see how many mouth breathers get into Dartmouth, Brown, and Princeton every year and then shut yourself the eff up.

Wait, what was I talking about ...

Oh yeah, there's good and bad about athletic departments raising money. How you like my freshman comp thesis statement there? Here's another:

"Since the beginning of time, there was athletics ..."
Brilliant! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWqGLVaITsk

Ok, so Cincinnati releases a statement this morning that explains, informally, what a person who donates to their department should expect to receive for the amount donated. Examples include:

$10,000-$25,000 PER YEAR - You've paid enough money to get access to the team - the players, coaches and athletic administration. If you want to, you'll get to know them, and they'll get to know you. You might be offered the opportunity to fly on the team charter or to dine with the coach. And of course, you'll get great parking spots on game day.

$25,000-$50,000 PER YEAR OR SINGLE GIFTS FROM $100,000-$500,000 - Don't worry about getting to know the coaches. They'll get to know you. Tickets for the NCAA Tournament or bowl game? Don't worry. You're at the top of an elite list. How involved do you want to be? If you want to know what's going on with the program, such as who the team's recruiting or who the university might hire, all you've got to do is ask.

$50,000-PLUS PER YEAR OR SINGLE GIFTS OF MORE THAN $500,000 - The coaches and athletic directors know your home address and are more than happy to visit for dinner. Heck, the university president probably has you on speed dial. A private golf outing with the coach? You name the tee time.

So that got me thinking ... what about the little guys (and gals) out there who love Bearcat athletics but cant pony up a hundy hundy sticks? So, for all of the Bearcat! fans out there, the bottom ten donor levels in the UCATS Foundation.
__________________________________________________

$100 and below - Autographed picture of head coach. Autograph says "Thanks alot, you just paid for a helmet decal, douchebag. Send that chump change to Toledo or something. Who we look like? Akron Technical College up in this bitch?" I know, it seems labor intensive ...

$101-$250 - Autographed picture and chapbook explaining the genus and species of a BearCat entitled "Berenstain Bones BattleCat." The magic happens here http://www.berenstainbearstreehouse.com/index.php.

$251-$400 - U of Cincinnati Pen Set. Will only sign your name on check or money order. Uses invisible ink everywhere else.

$401-$500 - Phonecall from girl on the volleyball team. And autographed picture from basketball coach that says "If you were buying air time, your commercial would be this lo ..."

$501-$1,000 - Football team will beat up any person who hassles you. Wait, thats the Bengals. http://www.myfantasyball.com/team_marks/CIN-mark-1-cl.gif (those stripes aren't part of the design. Thats just a regular ass "B" behind jail bars).

$1,001-$1,046 - Who donates $1,037? Thanks Rain Man.

$1,047-$1,500 - BearCat Towel set. Striped in Red and Black, so buttfloss the night away.

$1,501-$2,000 - Really cool BearCat Poster autographed by your favorite BearCat team. Hand delivered by offshoot UC mascot Pinky the PossumLizard. Just think of a really hairy gecko.

$2,001-$2,500 - Season tickets to all sporting events (excluding Men's Hip Hop Gyrating and Women's Lamaze).

$2,501-$4,999 - Foot massage, yoga class, and exfoliating facial courtesy of a real binturong bearcat. Band-aids sold separately. And how. Happy ending at your own risk http://gobearcats.cstv.com/genrel/081706aae.html.

So there you have it, your hometown UC Bearcats go on to victory thanks to your generous support, and you get all these great benefits in exchange. Only in America. Oh, and at McGill and St. Mary's, but that about it.

Back to work ... we ain't gonna beat Iowa again next year with me sitting here on my ass. And last I heard, Olympia Dukakis almost choked on a Meat Pie her last time through ... so no Steel Magnolias II: The Wrath of Connie.

Holla.

Monday, July 7, 2008

An Introduction to Manifold Superlativity

This is my IP. 11 years of college and here's what I have to show for it ... a rhetoric of absurd, feel-good marketing. So there's that ...

Manifold Superlativity, or, We’re (all) #1!

A couple of evenings ago, as I mixed and mingled over delicious wine and hors d-oeuvres at a local restaurant, I encountered a fellow who was clearly there as much because wine tastings are excellent prospecting opportunities for investment advisors as he was for the utter bacchanalianity of it all. Seriously there was so much wine and free food there I just wanted to go into a corner and throw up and then pour hot wax on myself. But I digress. Grossly.

I was invited by the owner to sample some wines and eat some good creole-continental fare with some good friends and good friends-to-be. He had me at "free." But the fellow with whom I was now speaking was seizing upon an opportunity to recruit new customers. Evidently, wine-drinkers tend to have higher net worths than malt liquor drinkers. Because I'm complicated, I like 'em both.

Sidebar: How awesome would a malt liquor tasting be?

"Yes, this is a 1998 Red Dog."

"Mmm, fruity undertones and a nice crisp aftertaste. You say 1998? Excellent year, no?"

"No, actually, that's $19.98 for a case."

"Ahh yes. Mmm. I'm already getting that feeling. You know, I'm gonna go over here in the corner, braid my hair in cornrows, put on a wife-beater, and then throw some D's on dat bitch. HEY, ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET SOME D'S AND A BITCH 'ROUND HERE?"

Anyhow, the fella I met strikes up a conversation with me and immediately I begin to sense that I'm being sized up. This is what investment advisors do … its really easy to ballpark a person's net worth and interest in your services by adjusting the content of your conversation. Introduce yourself. Find a common interest. Segue into your job responsibilities. And then:

First sentence, mention the words "Tontine" "Toast Point" "Gated Community with low incidence of Blacks and Hispanics" and "3 Series." If the person cocks his head to the side like a confused, un-potty trained jack Russell (extra points if he then lifts his leg and pees on himself) move on to the next sentence.

Second sentence, mention the words "401 K" "No-load Mutual Funds" and "Asset Allocation."

No Luck? Third sentence, drop "Lottery Tickets" "Put your ass in the air for the first rich guy who shows interest" and "Does your house have wheels?"

And so on.

Anyway, the guy mentions he's with LPL, and it's the #1 independent investment firm of its kind. He then begins to tell me about his best performing funds. Because I felt like I could engage him (read: was drunk and felt like being a dick) I parried:

"Whats the Morningstar rating on your best low-load large cap value fund?"
"How many consecutive years has your best micro cap fund beat the Lipper average?"
"Do you consistently outperform the S&P 500?"
"How did you advise clients who wished to restructure their asset allocations in relation to the subprime mortgage bust? Play it in cash and wait until a true bottom reveals itself in the housing market? Pull out of the pure plays?"

And then to really be a neutical, I charged him up like an old black frat member:

"And I thought UBS was the #1 investment firm?"

Of course, his response was professional, accommodating, consummatory even:

"No they are the #1 firm in terms of assets."
"A.G. Edwards?" Most local branches.
"Merrill Lynch?" Most million dollar clients.

So basically, every investment firm is #1 at something.

And therein is the rhetorical theory that this blog is named after: Manifold Superlativity. In short, there are enough aspects of human life and all of god's creation that every human being and every organization/corporation/etc. can be #1 at something. Particularly useful bit of knowledge if you pay close attention to Western (American, particularly) marketing and advertising rhetoric, where we value superlatives highly and devote little time to conducting our own research to verify the validity of those claims.

The #1 detergent could be #1 in sales, or #1 in independent tests or smell the best.
The #1 car could be the fastest, most fuel efficient, or most likely to get you laid by a woman who is two or more points higher than you on the scale (You're a 4, she's an 8).
The #1 rhet/comp grad program could be #1 in job placement, #1 in research funding, or #1 in likelihood to uproot itself and relocate at a completely different university.

So I figure, what are ten things that yours truly is quite possibly #1 at in the entire world?

10. I am #1 in the world at competitive list making. In other words, I make better lists than you. Really literate lists. For example ...

9. I have uttered the phrase "white people make me sick" and the phrase "black people make me sick" in succession more times than anyone else in the world.

8. I am the number one person inthe world at being able to discern the difference between Jason Bateman and Jerry O Donnell. Marginally better than O Donnell, even.

7. I have retrieved a post-it note, written down one word, and then decided that I don't need a post-it note but I want to have a fresh post-it note when I write the next message down, thus discarding the original post-it note more times than anyone else in the world.

6. I have tried to explain why I like women's tennis so much to more people than any other person in the world. I think this is because I am afraid that people will assume its because I like watching foreign women in short skirts grunt as if mid-coitus, which, seriously, is like the fourth or fifth thing on a list of twelve things that I like about women's tennis in terms of order of importance.

5. I have uttered the phrase "F**k you, Pay me" more times than any other person in the world, save for Mos Def. I am set to surpass him in 2011. Because he will stop saying it and come up with something cooler and I'll be in the background saying it like people who currently say "No you didd-en" and "You go girl."4. I have walked the road from Del Taco on Broadway and Euclid to the Dean of Students Office more times than any other person in the world in fewer than 1,700 steps.

3. I have had this fantasy more times than any other person in the world
"A Person is choking at a restaurant. Someone yells "Are there a doctor in the house?" I stand up and proclaim "Yes, there is a doctor in the house." And then Hugh Laurie looks at me from across the room and begins a B-Movie clap.

2. I have spent more time daydreaming about what I would name my band, based on genre, if I were actually in one right now. Current projects, you ask?

Blues: The HeeBeeGeeBees "I Put a Mispell on You"
Rap: B. F. Hoodrich "Throw Some A's on that Bitch (The Report Card Anthem)" B-Side "Chicken Noodle Soup (Mmm Mmm Hood!)"
Alternative: The B-Movie Claps "Old Horatian Lies"
Gospel: Rev. Dr. Will and the Stormin' Tabernacle Choir "Lord, If You Listenin' … HELPP!!! The Doctor say I Need a Backiotomy"

And so on …

1. Parallel parking. I run that. And I drive a Honda Fit. Its kinda like when a busty woman wears victoria secret. Makes the goods look great.

Holla back and let me know what you're the best in the world at. At what you're best in the world. What in the world at which you are best.

In the immortal words of ODB,
"If you wanna see me baby come, you know Dirty Dog is number one"

Method Man f. ODB "Sucker MCs"
And remember ... we're all number one at something.