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Ken Lanci, Jouster of Field Goals –Cagle

May 2011

Bits and Pieces

It is May. The flowers are in bloom, love is in the air, and it won't be long until us still-thawing residents of the northeastern United States flock to the beach in search of sun, sand and surf.

But then there are those for whom this time of year is but a reverse hibernation period, an inconvenient annoyance until September rolls around and the dolce tones of Hank Williams Jr. thunder throughout the land with the proclamation: "Are you ready for some football?" Not so fast, son, for them football–ers have done been locked out by management.

As of press time, National Football League owners and players remain deeply entrenched. But, in the unlikely event that there was any significant movement from the time this was written until the present, well, NFL fans can send thank you notes to the owner of a printing company for having played a role in bringing about the peace.

The term "hero" is often carelessly bandied about these days, but Ken Lanci may well end up being a difference maker in the scrum between NFL owners and players. Left to their own devices, neither side would be apt to do the right thing and reach a settlement for the benefit of the paying public. So Lanci, chairman, CEO and owner of Cleveland-based Consolidated Graphics Group—and the holder of 10 personal seat licenses (PSLs) to watch the Browns—took a most logical approach:

He sued the NFL, seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

And why not? When you're dealing with two parties that are solely focused on making money and have little to no regard for the people who have made them obnoxiously and undeservedly rich, the best way to get their attention is via a mighty drop-kick to the wallet.

Lanci filed suit seeking to end the lockout that could very well wipe out the entire 2011 regular season and the playoffs. He contends that the lockout violates the terms of his PSL contract and his ability to enjoy a full slate of home games.

"What tipped the scale for me is the labor issue between millionaires and billionaires, and the fact that they can't settle it when the country is in a recession," Lanci told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

It would be quite fitting if the PSL leads to the undoing of the owners and players. The license is a shameless cash grab concocted by the owners to force football fans to pay an extra fee that gives them the right to buy a season ticket for a specific stadium seat. For a side dish of galling, consider that many stadiums around the league were financed using taxpayer dollars; and owners show their appreciation by sticking it fans, twice. Oof!

MERITS MENTIONING: Don Burdge has been a Boy Scouts of America merit badge counselor for the Graphic Arts and Pulp and Paper merit badges during the past eight years. Unfortunately, he's been the equivalent of the lonely Maytag repair man, having only one scout inquire about getting a badge (and that youngster failed to show up).

As a father of an Eagle Scout and someone who attained the same level himself, Burdge wanted to drum up interest among scouts in the printing and paper industries, and at the same time help correct some misconceptions. And, he knew that scouts always flocked to Merit Badge Days. So Burdge teamed up with Mark Barbour, curator of the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA, to create a Merit Badge Day at the printing museum on May 7. Flock they did; the program "sold out," with another 100 youths put on a waiting list.

Southwest Offset's Dan Freedland and Cal State LA professor Ethan Lipton helped devise the program, which required the scouts to complete 21 assignments at 12 stations. Along with earning two badges, participants learned about careers in the industry, collegiate programs and paper's positive impact on the environment.

Not wanting to disappoint the waiting list, Burdge has scheduled a second Merit Badge Day at the museum for June 18. He could use about 20 volunteers, so interested people in the Los Angeles area should contact him at (213) 373-1372 or

ROYAL SCREWUP: Prince William has a lot to celebrate these days, what with his royal wedding to Kate Middleton last month and his birthday this month. Or is his birthday next month? When in doubt, take a guess.

That was the tact taken by the company contracted to write the text of a royal wedding presentation pack that contained stamps, first day covers and miniature sheets for New Zealand Post. The postal trinkets were all done correctly, but William's birth date is listed as May 21, 1982, instead of the correct June 12, 1982, in the biographical section of the presentation pack. New Zealand Post was left with egg on its perforations, and it quickly yanked the packets from shelves.

And, perhaps in a case of subconscious foreshadowing, New Zealand Post might have used poor judgment in its choice of perforations for a pair of stamps it issued on behalf of the Pacific island of Niue. The royal stamps show William and Kate, side by side, with their own postage denominations and a perforation between the pair. One slight tug, and it's Charles and Diana all over again. PI —Erik Cagle



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