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With an ominous penalty shootout lurking on the horizon, Andre Schurrle skipped down the left touchline and crossed a superb ball into the Argentine box. It was expertly trapped by the young German prodigy on his chest and wonderfully volleyed past Romero into the Argentine net; encapsulating a breathtaking display of skill, usually associated with the Latin American version of the beautiful game.

In the end, few can dispute that Germany were the deserving winners of the 2014 World Cup. Die Mannschaft, which literally translates into ‘The Team’, was unequivocally the team of the tournament.

And in the narrowness of their one goal victory over Argentina in the final, there lie a generous width of ideas, pertinent to anybody involved in creating effective teams. In their style of designing world class automobiles, the Germans this World Cup, also shed some light on engineering world beating teams. They were knocked out at the initial group stage. It was truly a low point in their footballing history. The consensus seemed to be, the talent had dried up in German game. At such times, most teams tend to embrace a defensive approach to stay competitive. But two German coaches turned this conventional idea on its head, first Jurgen Klinsmann in 2006, and subsequently Joachim Low (who began as Klinsmann’s acolyte).

In every tournament, beginning with the 2006 World Cup, the Germans came out flying. They not only scored goals by the bagful, they even began transforming a dour stodginess, in the perception about the German team. They became the most exciting team on the planet. Their attacking intent also presented them the onus early on in matches, and soon they began to chalk up an impressive record.

Many times organizations trying to turn the corner become more and more defensive in their strategies. This results in an adherence to ‘tried and trusted’ procedures, quite a few of which might be responsible, for landing the company in that predicament in the first place. To dramatically turn things around, bravery in one’s strategic and executional approach, is often the need of the hour. It can catch competitors off guard. It can inspire belief in the team within. It can provide the organizational momentum to get out of tough situations. But this new exciting revolution in German football; will also be remembered for the manner in which players, who had a dual heritage, began to feature regularly and prominently.

There is a distinct ‘United Nations’ feel to the German national team these days. Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski are part Polish. Mesut Ozil is of Turkish descent. Jerome Boateng has a Ghanaian father. Sami Khedira has Tunisians roots. And these players have opened the doors for many others.

Any ecosystem is richer for the variance it possesses. The same is true for teams in any organization. Diverse cultural upbringings always entail a distinctly different perspective on things. This is an invaluable asset in the competitive times of today.

It is also a real boon when the company is on the path of innovation. This span of different viewpoints, not only leads to a contrast in opinion, which might catalyze an interesting conflict or ‘abrasion of ideas’ (to borrow a term from Professor Robert Sutton), that is always great for the creative process, but it also ushers in a novelty and an increased range, to the task of conceptualization.

So whether it is the question of generating an out of the box idea, or putting together an eye catching move on the pitch, teams with richness in diversity, always have more chances of impressing.

More mileage per player

German players are ingrained in the concept of ‘Total Football’. It is one of the country’s contributions (along with Holland) to the sport itself. Hence it was no surprise to see forwards like Klose and Muller coming deep in their own halves, to fulfill their defensive duties. Nor was it any cause for astonishment, to see the likes of central defender Matt Hummels score a few goals, and often make penetrating runs deep into opposition territory. However what was really new; was the absolutely defining manner, in which Manuel Neuer forever changed the expectations of a goalkeeper.

He exemplified a new concept, that of the ‘sweeper keeper’. His outrageous performance against Algeria, in a knockout game, surely made coaches and experts round the world sit up and take notice. Neuer was not just the last line of defense; with his excellent distribution, he was the first line of attack as well. He ventured further than any goal keeper ever had in the World Cup, metaphorically and quite literally as well.

In these economically uncertain times, Neuer does lay down a behavioral template for the modern day employee. Role definitions and boundaries should start becoming nonexistent. The only thing which really matters should be the overall organizational goal. And everyone goes beyond the confines of their visiting card to contribute to that cause. And yet, one finds individual milestones, sometimes taking precedence over team interests. Many would recall how some cricketing teams slow down, when a batsman is inching towards a hundred. In this World Cup, Germany painted an inspiring example of how team sport can, and should always be conducted.

Their indifference, to Miroslav Klose’s proximity to the record for the highest number of goals ever scored in the competition, was an eye opener to many. The only reason, Klose was brought onto the pitch or stayed on it, was to try and get much needed goals. Eventually it was almost inevitable that if they won the World Cup, he would break the record too; as should always be the case.

Losing an absolutely key player like Sami Khedira just before the final, could have been crippling for many; not the Germans. They calmly shrugged off this misfortune, and replaced him with the young Christoph Kramer. When Kramer himself picked up an injury in the match, the Germans hardly broke stride in bringing Andre Schurrle on. The feeling was any of the players on the pitch, could have played in any other position, with almost the same impact. And there were several on the substitutes bench, equally skilled in the same positional flexibility. Individuals did not matter that much. The team was truly the star for the Germans. And it was shining brightly.

Corporate life is no stranger these days, to individual self interest taking over the progress of a group. In these ‘i obsessed’ times, managers need to balance individual aspiration and fulfillment, with the achievement of team goals. This task demands sterling personal examples be set. And instances, of team members going beyond their call of duty to help colleagues, are positively reinforced by open acknowledgment and rewards. An evaluation of individual effort, never in isolation, but always in the context of how the team was bolstered (or impeded) by it, needs to become more of the norm in modern day workplaces.

There is also a ‘star culture’ in the corporate world. Perhaps there will always be merit in that, as many sporting teams do show. But being overly dependent on one person, can never make for either an effective team or a great organization. Having understudy’s being nurtured to step into those big shoes, when the star is absent or chooses to move on, is an initiative which has to be seriously considered for the long term health of any organization.
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Australians have plenty to thank the British for, including our government, the English language, and our taste for beer, “crisps” and saucy comedies involving priests. However, there’s one gift I’d like to return to the motherland: the concept of smashing a bottle or beer glass into another person’s face.

I’m sure glassing happened twenty years ago; I just can’t remember ever seeing it done or meeting a victim of it. Now it’s reached the stage where law abiding punters have to drink out of plastic or perspex cups because of the mugs who do this stuff so regularly.

Examine the act for a minute: a person takes offense to something you’ve done or said in a public place, so they smash their drinking glass, grip the left over base and, with the broken shards pointing outwards, ram it into your face.

I’m not condoning punching people (or even shooting or stabbing them), but glassing strikes me as one of the most horrendously premeditated violent acts you can commit against another person and I reckon it was largely popularised by the Brits .

Back in 2002, the Manchester Evening News approximated there were more than “more than 5,000 glassing injuries a year in Britain” and if you’ve spent any time in Scotland or the north of England, you’ll see the evidence soon enough.

Friends of mine who’ve been to places like Glasgow and Manchester have commented how many guys (and girls) you come across who bear the facial scars of a glassing attack and it’s an ugly trend that’s picking up steam here.

Obviously the majority of glassing attacks are perpetrated by Australians on Australians, but there’s little doubt in my mind its origins lay in the UK where cities, like the two mentioned above, have greatly reduced the problem by introducing toughened glass or plastics cups into venues after 11pm, when the majority of incidents occur.

Google “glassing” and you’ll see it’s becoming a widespread problem in this country, with attack, after attack, after bloody attack, claiming the sight and peace of mind of men and women.

Radio Triple J’s Michael Atkin did this piece for the Hack program late last year and it pretty much underscored how glassing attacks happen: aggro + grog + not backing down + lack of consequential thinking.

Unfortunately, I reckon it’s a Catch 22 situation, where the more glassing attacks that happen, the more they’re reported by the media and the more they’re at the forefront of the minds of pea brained fools when they get drunk and fired up and are looking to do someone harm.

About five of six years ago, I was having a game of pool with my mate Youngblood against two Pommy geezers; we were all having a good laugh until there was a disagreement over the rules about shooting backwards.

Youngblood was telling the boys how it was the rules were printed on the wall so things had chilled a little and I headed to the bar to get the shout.

For some reason, I looked back, just to check things were sweet between everyone, and I saw one of the Poms move his beer glass behind his back. He turned it upside down to empty the last dregs and was shaping to swing it at Youngblood.

I ran back,
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grabbed his wrist and got him in a headlock and the bouncers arrived as I choked the bastard, saying to him “you were gonna disfigure my mate for life over a pool game?”

I was staggered. Still am, that anyone would be so incredibly reckless, even with a skinful of grog.

I can honestly say it’s never even crossed my mind to glass a person. Hit them with a pool cue, yes, half brick them, of course, but a glass? It’s murderous.

It’s my fear that the current surge in glassings will only lead to more of them because it’s now become a well known option in a fight and morons will take it.

Hopefully the problem will not get so bad that plastic “glasses” are forced upon all drinkers, but it’s a small price to pay.

Until then, as hard as it is when you’re drunk and the adrenaline’s pumping, just walk away boys (and girls).

You don’t know if the person you’re arguing with is a fool, and all you’re relying on is their honour and judgment they won’t maim you for life, or worse.

If you’d like to email me with a topic suggestion or just vent, try here. I now have more than 1500 unanswered emails and no hope of catching up. So I’m instituting a no reply policy (unless you’re hot) because I’m sick of feeling guilty about it. In advance, I thank you for your email.

Bit hard to exercise good judgment about who to argue with when you’re shit faced. Try not getting drunk in the first place, or if you must do it in private or in company you can trust.

Then again if you’re anything like my neighbours who decide to rev up their motorbike at midnight on Saturday, have parties that turn into screaming domestics and throw cigarette butts over the fence, please don’t get drunk/stoned anywhere near me. I don’t even feel I can go to the Police, since their bound to hold one hell of a grudge if they’re caught with pot. I sure as hell am not going to approach them drunk or stoned, and I doubt they’ll give a rats if I approach them sober.

Drugs and alcohol have been around longer than written history. The real problem as I see it is people have decided that behaving like mugs is okay. Don’t like what someone’s saying sure mame ’em with a bottle! Want to have a party till all hours and piss off the neighbours why not life is short!? Oh and don’t forget if you’re drunk or stoned it was the grog or drugs that made me do it your honour. I’m a law abiding citizen really I am. That was out of character.

I have to say, living in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where we’ve a fairly well established drinking culture and are close to the rest of the UK, we don’t see these glassings much, in fact I haven’t seen any scarred faces at all.

So I’m not sure what that says about how much you guys are influenced by the ‘Motherland’. In fact I wouldn’t blame the British culture at all for the decision of some Australians to adopt the practice.

It is a particularly low, callous and cowardice act to carry out and I agree 100% that the crime should be harshly punished.

I’ve always thought crimes with a ‘personal touch’, like knife ing and glassing, require a certain disturbing mindset. More so, I think, than the more detached process of shooting someone.
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“Poppy had her own twitter account, with thousands of followers from all over the world.The father and son decide to hold a pug meet up, bringing together people with a love of a breed and those fans who had been following Poppy on social media.But tragedy struck shortly before the pug meet up.Poppy got very poorly and the event was put on hold as she was rushed to the vets.Craig WhyteRangers’ liquidators locked in 2.8m legal battle with firm once linked to Craig WhyteLawyers for Wavetower want a chunk of the 30m that liquidators BDO are believed to have recovered after the Ibrox club’s financial collapse.Knife crimeKnife murderer who killed young dad is left fighting for his own life after prison stabbingViolent thug John Blake, who stabbed young dad of two Sean Stark to death, was attacked in Glenochil prison last weekend.Glasgow’This guy has nothing’ Thousands raised for Glasgow homeless hero who guarded car with 450 insideJohn McMonagle wants to give James John McGeown 5000 to say thanks after he went out of his way to stop the cash being taken.Kyle Falconer’Is that right ya p?’ Scots rocker Kyle Falconer ‘penniless’ after 25k bill for boozy air rageThe View frontman has been fined 1000,
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with another 24,000 in costs after squaring up to a fellow passenger and hurling a homophobic insult at a cabin crew member in June last year.GreenockCops seek witnesses as man fights for life after being hit by a car in GreenockThe 54 year old is in a critical condition after being struck by a Renault Clio near the entrance to the Tesco car park at around 4pm on Friday.Bad WeatherNew weather warnings issued for ice with big freeze creating dangerous driving conditionsThe bad weather has led to a number of road collisions and a spike in the amount of injuries caused by people slipping.BabiesBaby born with bowels outside his body gets all clear in time for ChristmasAlbie Daley developed Gastroschisis which affects one in 3000 babies and had to have life saving surgery at four hours old.DrugsThree arrests after cops seize 150,000 drugs haul in GlasgowTwo men and a woman have been held in connection with alleged drug offences.ChildrenYoung mum found dead in bed by nine year old son was ‘perfectly healthy’The shocked family of Carly Pitt say the 28 year old had no health issues and had not been ill before she died.Scottish PremiershipRangers vs St Johnstone team news plus previews of this weekend’s Scottish Premiership actionInjury and suspension news for the clash at Ibrox plus Celtic’s visit to Tynecastle to face Hearts and Aberdeen’s much anticipated clash with Neil Lennon’s Hibs.Craig WhyteRangers’ liquidators locked in 2.8m legal battle with firm once linked to Craig WhyteLawyers for Wavetower want a chunk of the 30m that liquidators BDO are believed to have recovered after the Ibrox club’s financial collapse.Knife crimeKnife murderer who killed young dad is left fighting for his own life after prison stabbingViolent thug John Blake, who stabbed young dad of two Sean Stark to death, was attacked in Glenochil prison last weekend.Scottish PremiershipRangers vs St Johnstone live score and goal updates from the Scottish Premiership clash at IbroxGraeme Murty’s men are going for five wins on the bounce follow all the action here LIVEScottish PremiershipAberdeen 4 Hibs 1 as Gary Mackay Steven rips holes in Neil Lennon’s ‘second best’ claim 3 talking pointsGraeme Shinnie’s opener plus two goals from man of the match GMS win the points for the Dons.GreenockCops seek witnesses as man fights for life after being hit by a car in GreenockThe 54 year old is in a critical condition after being struck by a Renault Clio near the entrance to the Tesco car park at around 4pm on Friday.Scottish PremiershipAberdeen 4 Hibernian 1 live reactionDerek McInnes and Neil Lennon’s side go head to head in the Granite City follow it here LIVE.Bad WeatherNew weather warnings issued for ice with big freeze creating dangerous driving conditionsThe bad weather has led to a number of road collisions and a spike in the amount of injuries caused by people slipping.Fatal FiresMum whose four kids died in fire ‘begged’ to be moved to safe house just days before fatal blazeMichelle Pearson’s family claim the 35 year old was let down by social services with tragic consequences.Bonfire NightSeven arrested over Bonfire Night disorder in Edinburgh which left one police officer injuredPolice said that several cars were set alight in the city on November 5.
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The warehouse, located in Laverton just west of Melbourne holds the last sheepskin tannery in the country. The company’s founder, Roman Fishman, says when he started making ugg boots with his wife Luda, after fleeing Soviet Russia 32 years ago, there were around 70 tanneries in the country. There are only a handful left and he thinks theirs is now the only dedicated sheepskin tannery in Australia.

“I started becoming a tanner because nobody could supply me with the skins and so I had to do it myself,” says Mr Fishman who inspects the sheep every morning himself to pick the highest quality fleeces.

“I see them in the morning alive and at lunch time the skins come to us and we put them in to the process.”

The tannery processes around 150,000 skins a year, mainly to turn into ugg boots. But Roman Fishman says he would happily produce more if he could sell them.

“It’s very hard to compete with them.”

The ugg boot side of the business is overseen by managing director Lena Fishman who sells under the label Ugg Australia. While there are other ugg boots made domestically, all other manufacturers use sheepskins tanned overseas.

Despite the challenges of higher labour costs, Lena Fishman says her boots are only 10 per cent more expensive than foreign made products and sell cheaper than some Australian brands.

“It’s about reacting to market, it’s about the loyalty that people know because they’ve tested one of those products that falls apart,” she explains.

But it hasn’t been easy. The company spent eight years in court fighting to retain their name after an American company, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, objected to their use of the term Ugg Australia, which Deckers have trademarked in the US and several other countries. On that front, Lena Fishman was successful, but she says she faces an even larger challenge of competing with imported products that are rebadged as Australian made.

“We are starting to have our reputation ruined over the marketing and the lack of legal action over these products,” says Ms Fishman, who prides herself on producing the only fully Australian made ugg boots in the world.

Lena Fishman says that the lack of action taken by Australian Made, the organisation which overseas the use of the Australian Made logo,
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has led to more manufacturers heading overseas.

“In the last ten years, we have watched real manufacturers move offshore because the laws are so loose, one follows the other and it’s a race to the bottom,” she said.

The consumer watchdog, the ACCC, has taken action against ugg boot companies falsely claiming to manufacture in Australia. Earlier this month, Queensland company Koala Jack received a court order requiring it to stop using the Australian Made logo after its products were found to be manufactured in China. But Lena Fishman says that kind of action hardly touches the surface.

“There’s been no legal action, there’s plenty of product with no country of origin and no factories have been closed,” she said.”It ruins the reputation of Australians world wide.”

Australian Made, for its part, accepts that the organisation is facing an uphill battle when it comes to products being falsely labelled as made in Australia.

“If we don’t monitor the claim made in Australian, then . the companies that are going to make product in Australia will most likely have a price penalty in the marketplace,” said Australian Made chief executive, Ian Harrison.

Mr Harrison says every claim of misuse of the Australia Made logo is investigated. But only 1 per cent of companies using the logo are audited each year. Mr Harrison concedes that more regulation is required from both the ACCC and Australian Made if consumers are to have confidence in the Australian Made logo.

“We’d like it to be more than 1 per cent, but it’s a question of resources,” said Mr Harrison, who says the ACCC is also constrained by a lack of resources.

Despite the challenges, Roman Fishman is determined to ensure that the company he started 32 years ago with $60 and a few second hand sewing machines will continue to manufacture in Australia.

“We have to survive this industry because if we don’t save this industry, what will be left for our children?” he asks.

If the passion and conviction of his daughter, Lena Fishman, is anything to go by,
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With negotiators from the Detroit 3 and the UAW about to put in some late nights around the bargaining table in the next few months, they probably won be getting their fourth meals from Taco Bell.

As General Motors and Ford Motor Co. run for the border, investing billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs in Mexican plants, union leaders are fuming.

need jobs in the United States, and we the ones buying those vehicles that they shipping in from Mexico, UAW President Dennis Williams said today at a ceremony to open talks with Ford. yeah, there issues. a story by my colleague Neal Boudette explained a few weeks ago, Mexico is poised to play a major role in this year talks. GM and Ford are spending a combined $7.5 billion (121 billion pesos) to expand operations in Mexico over the next few years. Williams shared his concerns about free trade agreements during a meeting last week with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and President Barack Obama.

Ford stoked the UAW anger earlier this month by announcing that it would, in 2018, move production of two small cars, the Focus and C Max, out of a Michigan plant where they been built since 2009. and sources tell me Mexico is the likely destination.

I happy about it? No,
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Williams said today. want everything built in the United States of America, including tennis shoes. Trump won be pleased either. Trump recently threatened to impose a 35 percent tax on vehicles Ford imports from Mexico, ignoring the fact that such a specifically targeted penalty would certainly not be legal, as The Detroit News pointed out.

are going to take away thousands of jobs, Trump said last month, when he launched his candidacy for the White House. very bad for us. At today event, Executive Chairman Bill Ford thanked UAW members for their sacrifices during dark days of while also reminding them how close the automaker came to collapsing.

pulled together to pull the company back from the brink of extinction, Ford said.

The UAW, on the other hand, pointed to the billions of dollars in profits that have piled up since the recession. Ford will announce second quarter earnings next week, with CEO Mark Fields promising that 2015 will turn out to be a year for Ford financially.

Motor Co. has done very well and we so happy to be here under those conditions, Williams said today. we be reminding them of that daily. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. If we see repeated behavior,
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we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

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What do we mean when we mention sneaker? In the past, sneaker referred to a person who was yellow bellied. We did not know the word “sneaker” until 1917. In 1917, an American advertising agency, Henry Nelson McKinney offered this slogan for the shoes of Keds Corporation. From then on, the gym shoes and other things associated with them have gradually been called “sneakers”.

I needed a pair of sneakers and who can recommend for me? Certainly, people’s physical fitness and their feet are totally distinct. Moreover, they play basketball in different ways. The world does not have a pair of “universal shoes”. There are some shoes which are fit for others, but not you. If you want to find out the shoes that are suitable to you, you need to make more efforts. Of course, it does not mean that others’ advices are useless. But at least before you ask questions, you must tell people your height, weight, location, and your ways of playing. You must illustrate the situations of the court. Then you can get best suggestions and buy your suitable shoes.

Why are most high end basketball shoes not wearable? Basketball shoes are different with other sports shoes. In most occasions, we make basketball shoes’ outsole on the basis of the infield’s condition. Generally speaking, this kind of shoes has soft outsoles. Then shoes can grip the ground better. If you wear these shoes in the outfield, you certainly wear them down. So, before you complain these worn shoes, you should think whether you picked wrong shoes or fields. In fact, many sports brands have their shoes especially designed for outfield. For example, there are DRC outsole applied by Nike and adiwear used by ADI. We can not compare these shoes with those flaring sneakers. But at least they are wearable and players can wear them for a long time on the outfield.

I have a pair of running shoes. It was elastic and soft when I bought them. However, a spell of time later, they were not so soft and elastic. Why is it? In fact, there are only two materials of insoles of sneakers. They are EVA and Phylon. Both of EVA and Phylon are foam. That is to say, we can find incalculable small holes in these two materials. These small holes in the material play an important role in decreasing the oscillation. However, a period of time later, their resilience will become weak because of too much press. We can say we give the shoes more press. As for this flaw, many firms take some measures to deal with. They often set more materials to reduce the vibration. Then players can wear them for a longer time. Air cushion of Nike is a typical representative.

If you are too weighty and very good at jumping, you had better not choose the shoes with only EVA midsoles. These shoes have weak cushioning and it can last several months or less. Maybe their outsoles and upper sides are in good condition. However, your feet and legs can not be guarded by this kind of sneakers. Therefore, after you understand the basic knowledge, you can get your comfortable and wearable running shoes. I wish the basic knowledge would be beneficial to you
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Military boots assume an imperative part in preparing of military, where they needed to work so hard for the security of the nation and individuals. To keep up their own security in such circumstances, these boots are important for them. Additionally, for any individual who requests unparalleled strength, toughness and adaptability, these shoes are ideal choices. The work boot manufacturers in India produce these shoes to suit your requirements and environment. Aside from military battle shoes that are most popular, there are a wide range of military boots too.

The types:

The parade ground Have you seen military staff doing drill or walking during their training sessions? The shoes that they use as a feature of their dress while doing drill are the parade boots or shoes. They are cleaned with additional endeavours to make the toecaps look shiny.

British military boots Connected with the British military crusades for a considerable length of time, these shoes are outlined joining logical research and cutting edge innovations. They are intended to offer complete security and solace to the wearers, guaranteeing that they can bear on their employment with best of their capacity. Throughout the years a wide range of British military boot have been produced, for example, boots combat, shoes general services etc. Look for renowned work boot manufacturers in India who is known for their quality work boots.

Combat military boots These shoe are the most popular and despite the fact that these shoe are of different types, for example, desert or jungle boots, at last these all are intended for one reason and that is to give the trooper backing and wellbeing amid battle circumstances.

Specialized military boots These are particular shoe, made for both battle and parade circumstances. The military shoes fill the need.

Durable Military boots, particularly the military battle boots are produced with climate safe quality. Made of steel and leather, these boots have a tendency to perform better for long span. Likewise, these shoes are thought to be worth for cash.

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Not so very long ago, mamas didn’t let their babies grow up to be cooks. It’s no accident that restaurant kitchens were situated in the back, with swinging doors firmly affixed to their entrances. Food was supposed appear out of nowhere, like magic. The people who cooked it were irrelevant interchangeable cogs in military brigade systems, or miscreants who did the job as a means to some other end. For evidence of this, look no further than food’s favorite bad boy, Anthony Bourdain, who describes the life of the derelict cook in his famous tell all book Kitchen Confidential.

These days, we delight in the cook as artist. We want to know who put together the plate, how they did it, what drives them, and how they can possibly be so capable, so creative. For a while it was fun what cook didn’t like coming out of the shadows for a bit, getting their picture taken, having ladies (and fellows) give them “that look”?

But another trend is brewing, one of kitchen crews wondering if they really have time for all this folly. Who has time for genius when the hood needs cleaning and the cost of beef won’t stop going up?

There’s no substitute for innovation, for being the guy who shaves kombu into his burger, or for striving to deliver what we all endlessly seek, as cooks and eaters: flavor. But the job is also, in much larger proportion, about hours of labor, dish washing, fixing broken stuff (Murphy’s Law has never been so quick to manifest as in a kitchen), personnel, spill mopping, pulling ghastly filth from the grease trap, food cost, immigration law, HVAC, plumbing, pilot lights, fuses, pest control, and a million other tiny details that go into your painterly plate of monkfish.

It’s easy to see why the ego cases, the screamers, the dicks, the delicate artists receive the hype. They’re fun in the way Cruella DeVille is fun everybody loves a diva. But at the end of the day she’s a puppy killer, and you don’t really want a puppy killer sticking his fingers in your soup.

There are many chefs who would rather let their work speak for them. They would rather not be answering our questions at all; they’d just as soon be tucked back in the kitchens, with the door closed, making something that we can eat, something that is an ultimate expression of who they are.

1. Phillip Becht, Victor’s on Water

If Phillip Becht has one message for you it’s that he is not a hotshot, and probably would rather not be conducting this interview right now. And yet, he worked himself into a state of repetitive stress injury over his many years at the Modern Cafe, churning out the city’s best, most honest pot roast, short stacks, and eggs your way, day after day, year after year. He had surgery on his pan arm (which you get, naturally, from wielding saute pans for a couple of decades), but now he’s back at it at Victor’s on Water. He says he’s made a lot of “noodles” in his day, and he’ll continue to make “noodles,” by which he means dishes like squid ink Lumache with rock shrimp, charred fennel, and octopus ragu. Becht was drawn to the Italian format of the menu because “Italian is simple,” he says, “and simple suits me.” He’s also the only chef I’ve ever interviewed who hung up the phone, and then called me back not to tell me that he forgot a detail about the Lumache, but to say he forgot to thank his crew.

2. Adam Vickerman, Cafe Levain

Most young chefs trying to make a name for themselves are concerned about innovation, about how they can do something that’s never been done in quite the same way before. Why sear a perfect fillet of fish if you can fill a balloon with essence of seashore and let it fly? But good cooking, like any good art, should be about making human connections, and a person is throwing good energy after bad if all that comes of the effort is alienation. Young Adam Vickerman embraces the classics: He thinks of Cafe Levain as his home restaurant, and after nearly four years as executive chef there, he has no plans to change or to stop. He’s not interested in it being a destination restaurant, though it probably should be for its exemplary renditions of classic bistro fare, things like braised short ribs, apple tart tatin, and knee buckling roast chicken. That chicken happens to be his signature dish, because of the effort it takes to do properly, every single time. It’s a workhorse dish reliable, crowd pleasing, and humbly satisfying, day after day.

3. Ferris Shiffer, The Minikahda Club

He’s virtually a celebrity figure in back of house restaurant circles, but the layperson has barely heard of him. He’s an influence of some kind over every young chef they look up to him as a godfather because his kitchen is a training ground: He turns cooks into chefs. And yet Ferris Shiffer enjoys the low profile existence of a chef tucked away in a country club kitchen if you wanted to try his cooking you would have to buy a membership to the Minikahda. And it might just be worth it. “I don’t have an ego. I work in a sphere of anonymity,” he has been quoted as saying in the local trade pub. He’s a chef’s chef. Country club cooking means you must be able to do it all beef Wellington, sushi, crab cakes, kid food, pizza, rice pilaf, crme brulee, quiche Lorraine, chicken pot pies, celeriac veloute, ranch dressing and keep 900 members indulged in their very personal and particular tastes. But remember, his clientele is high end, so a member might bring in his friend the French vintner along with a couple cases of his wine, and Shiffer would be tasked with creating a coursed dinner around it. He can do that, too. Every chef in town knows him not only because of his dedication to the craft, but because in addition to keeping the air in the souffle and the crisp on the chicken, he’s known as a mensch to all other restaurants when someone’s running low on eggs or bread, it’s often Shiffer to whom they go running.

If you think of Forepaugh’s, you might think about wedding banquets, Victorian architecture, and the ghost that famously, supposedly, haunts the space. (For his part, Don Gonzalez says he doesn’t like to think too much about it he works odd hours and doesn’t want to get freaked out.) But peruse the menu or should we say menus; there are at least half a dozen different ones going at all times and you will forget about bland banquet fare and chafers of warmed over eggs. Instead you’ll be thinking about things like chermoula flatbread, Malaysian samosas, Chinese longbeans, or a Cubano. Beef Wellington is there, too, and all the steaks your suburban dad with an expense account wants to eat, and eggs Benedict and even cheesy potatoes. Gonzalez grew up in a family of female cooks, with an English grandma who made him coddled eggs and toast points, and a Puerto Rican mother who told him if he didn’t like something to cook it his damn self. So he did. And he kept doing it until he got it right. Forepaugh’s is famous, yes, but not because there’s a name chef prancing around an open kitchen. The kitchen is actually in the basement, where all old fashioned kitchens were once situated, and that’s where you will find Gonzalez. And if you really want to get a look at that ghost, remember that she was a chambermaid and if she’s anywhere, she’s probably in the work quarters too, where anything good and legendary truly gets done.

5. Patrick Atanalian, Sanctuary

Out of all of our humble chefs, Patrick “Frenchie” Atanalian probably fits the chef stereotype best. He’s French (which is his answer for how he got into the business), so you could use him as your prototype for the next excitable Pixar animated chef. But aside from that there’s nothing really typical about him. He might have been doing this for longer than anyone “this” being a six day a week dedication to his work, never turning over his kitchen to others, except during his months long recovery after a surfing accident he sustained on vacation. Seems a giant wave came along and knocked his brain just ever so slightly into the wrong position, causing enough damage that he had to learn everything all over again walking, shoe tying, cooking. Chomping at the bit to get back into the kitchen, he worked in 15 minute increments until he got it right all over again. He’s been at it for three decades or more, and at times seems positively flummoxed about what “kids these days” are up to. Vegan butchers, say what? But if you’re looking for an experience that’s somehow at once classical yet weird, familiar yet goofy, challenging but comforting, look no further than his kitchen. The fact that it can come off as altogether grown up yet still famously incorporate gummy bears is testament to his mad scientist ways you won’t see him in many magazines because he’s too busy tinkering. [page]

6. Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer

The irony of this story’s premise wasn’t lost on us when we set out to write it. If a person indulges his own humility to an extreme degree, how will we ever, you know, know him? Paul Berglund was just such a case. I realized I had never met nor talked to the man, despite the Bachelor Farmer consistently being on our lists of favorite kitchens. He did a tour of duty in the Navy not cooking but driving ships but that old clich you read in all the food writing about a chef running a tight ship? Not Berglund. Which is not to say his kitchen isn’t running as fine tuned as it would be if he were breathing down everyone’s neck like a drill sergeant. It’s just that he’s not: His kitchen is known to have an air of calm, even a self effacing Scandinavian brand of quietude, which Berglund says he learned where else? in an Italian restaurant. After making the decision to go from the military to cooking, he landed at Oakland’s Oliveto where he went under the wing of big deal chef Paul Bertolli, and he stayed put for six years, a relative lifetime in the business. Talk of Italian slow food might evoke yawns in some, but there’s real merit in tasting a soup 100 times, for instance, or getting to know the flavor of every lettuce leaf before dousing it in vinaigrette. Those are the things that happen in Berglund’s kitchen things that might even be described as non events or un sexy. Maybe so, but it’s the singular focus required to make Nordic cuisine splashy, and remember that when driving a ship, slow and steady wins the race.

7. Aaron Slavicek, Bar La Grassa

Aaron Slavicek is telling me he doesn’t really like the chef as celebrity thing. “I mean it’s fine.,” he says, seeming to not want to offend the reporter in the room with the notebook, poised pen, and camera in hand. You probably don’t know it, but he’s running Bar La Grassa, arguably Minneapolis’s best Italian restaurant. Chef/owner Isaac Becker gets the glory but it’s Slavicek in the trenches, which is how he wants it. He also spent some time as executive chef of Cafe Maude, but left his post to become an unpaid intern. Sure, it was at one of the world’s most important restaurants, Arzak in Spain, but you know what? It wasn’t for him. He moved on to Zuberoa, another important place, this time in an old farmhouse, run by two brothers who were focused on traditional Basque cuisine. This was more his speed. The flash of freeze drying, dehydration, and distillation doesn’t do it for him, and instead he’s focused on getting rid of every mise en place that doesn’t get used each night, and starting completely from scratch every morning. This perfection, which he learned from Becker, isn’t about money; it’s about making something exactly the way it needs to be, no matter what. Slavicek isn’t into the notion of a signature dish, or even willing to pick one thing he likes to cook in particular. What would he prepare for the most important person in the room? “Whatever she wants.”

8. Christina Nguyen, Hola Arepa

It’s the place everyone loves to love so much it’s almost a status symbol: If you had your brunch at Hola Arepa, your cool card is nowhere close to expiring. You know the Caribbean blue awning; you know the food truck of the same name; you know the golden corn cakes of love called arepas and the perfectly seasoned braises and salsas; you know the genius of making a salad out of cheese curds by tossing them with citrus slaw, pickled onions, lipstick pink watermelon radish, and ground cherries. But do you know the name of the chef responsible for it all? Her name is Christina Nguyen, and we can’t help but think that if she were a dude, she’d be on the cover of all the mags with a spatula slung across her chest and a food truck tattooed on her bicep. But she’s not. She’s quietly cooking, name relatively unknown. We’ve even heard it said that “she’s not really a chef,” ostensibly because she’s perfected one thing, and churns it out, flawlessly, day after day, month after month. But we’re here to say, that indeed is a chef, and you should get to know her name if you don’t want your cool card revoked. Again, it’s Christina Nguyen.

It’s the best restaurant you’ve never heard of. Mona Restaurant and Bar is located in what might be the most unfortunate real estate in the city. There’s no street access, signage, or any indication of its existence, and yet every time we make our way to the strange little bar in the strange office building in the strange stretch of downtown, we’re saddened. Saddened that we’ve forgotten about the place for so long, and saddened that Lisa Hanson is getting the sort of short shrift that she gets. But a few bites into her simple yet inspired small plates (all the dishes at Mona are served in small plate form) such as deviled eggs with chorizo that are like an eye opening take on your morning breakfast, or a lush duck pot pie made deluxe with foie gras and then brightened with cranberry balsamic jus, and happy days are here again. Hanson trained at the Culinary Institute of America, arguably the finest culinary school in the country. Then she worked at Aquavit, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, and the Four Seasons in New York City, big deal spots, all. But she’s a small town girl from Winona, and she’s admittedly shy. “I don’t want to call some press person and say: ‘Duh, here’s what I’m doing!'” So as it stands, the accountants, consultants, and architects of the Accenture Tower have the best lunchroom in town all to themselves. Why not head over and give them some competition?

If you’ve spent any time in Japan, or paid any attention to Japanese culture, you have some idea how deeply the Japanese people hold modesty and discretion. Hide Tozawa is many things talented, cordial, and a sneaky wit but he is also unflaggingly Japanese. He visits his native Tokyo whenever time permits, returning to his restaurant Kyatchi (the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the city) with his head full of ideas and intricacies relating to how things are done in Japan properly, in a word. With a mind toward seasonality (yes, fish have seasons), migration patterns, and reverence of single ingredients, Tozawa says his sushi of choice is still the unassuming cucumber roll. That brand of restraint can be tough for the average Minnesota diner to swallow, and some critics have said the menu can feel a little austere, but sushi in its context should be about just that kind of disciplined frugality. He takes and uses only what’s necessary, and treats it with the respect just three ingredients demand. He says he just wants to bring something different, namely authenticity, to the Minnesota Japanese dining landscape no disrespect to anyone else.
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ABOARD THE OLIVER C. SHEARER, Ohio River America’s worst traffic jam this fall occurred on the Ohio River, where a line of about 50 miles of boats hauling grains and other products turned into a waterborne parking lot, as ship captains waited for the river to reopen.

Such delays are worsening on the nation’s waterways, which are critical to commerce for the United States, the largest grain exporter in the world. Of the country’s $40 billion in annual grain and soybean exports, about 60 percent is moved by barges on rivers, including the Ohio.

The shutdown, caused by worn or missing sections of a dam, snarled traffic from early September into early November through Locks and Dam No. 52 near Paducah, Ky. It was the second shutdown in two months at No. 52, which is among the country’s busiest locks with about $22 billion a year of commodities flowing through it.

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America

The lock, which has been earmarked for replacement by the Army Corps of Engineers for three decades, is one of many choke points along 25,000 miles of waterways used to transport everything from grains to consumer goods to coal.

It is a system increasingly under strain. Surging shipments of soybeans and corn due to record harvests are overwhelming parts of the antiquated network and causing more frequent and severe backups, according to interviews with farmers, shippers, grains merchants and barge operators. agricultural supply chain and international markets. This fall, delays in moving crops downriver bumped up grain prices at export terminals along the Gulf Coast, opening up an advantage for global competitors such as Brazil.

Most of the country’s 239 locks have exceeded their half century design lives, and nearly half the vessels that use the nation’s inland waterways now experience delays, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The average delay per lock has nearly doubled on the waterways since the beginning of the century, rising to 121 minutes in 2014 from 64 minutes in 2000, the group said.

An October National Waterways Foundation study said a major lock failure in the Midwest could cost shippers $1.5 billion per year in added costs and overwhelm existing rail and road capacity. Every barge can hold as much grain as 16 rail cars or 70 trucks.

Swollen stocksThe delays here and elsewhere are boosting prices for key goods including soybeans, and eating away at the nation’s competitive edge against rival exporters such as Brazil. soybean export prices normally drop in the autumn, as newly harvested supplies flood the market. But the delays caused prices to rise, making it harder for the United States, the second largest soybean exporter, to compete with Brazil, which ranks first.

In mid August, the price of soybeans loaded for export at Gulf Coast terminals was about $14 per metric ton below the cost of soybeans loaded at Brazil’s Paranagua port, according to industry data. advantage had been cut to less than $4 per ton. Brazil’s soybeans have a higher protein content, and therefore attract a premium. shipments.

Export markets are key for farmers and grain processors due to rising crop yields. corn output has outpaced domestic use by 20 percent, and soybeans by more than 70 percent.

“Being near the river used to be an advantage,
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but now having to wait on dams and infrastructure is more of a liability to farmers,” said Marc Bremer, a farmer in Metropolis, Ill.

Bremer sells most of his corn and soybeans to facilities known as elevators, which receive and store grain and load barges on the Ohio River. This autumn, he lost up to $30,000 in revenue when prices tumbled because disruptions caused crop stockpiles to swell at these facilities. He said he may delay buying new farm equipment as a result.

The logjams hit local grain buyers the elevators who cut bids on crops to the lowest levels since the Port of New Orleans was shuttered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Elevators, including those owned by Bunge Ltd., Cargill Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co., typically fill barges with corn and soybeans en route to the Gulf of Mexico. But the backup meant they were unable to ship out supplies overwhelming their storage, too.

‘Hidden cost’Along the river in Shawneetown, Ill., Bunge piled soybeans outside on the ground, putting them at risk of damage from rain or animals, because the elevator’s bins were full due to the backlog, local farmers said. An employee of Bunge’s elevator said it took this step because of “market conditions.”

Randy Anderson, a farmer from Galatia, Ill., said he was told to hold back prearranged deliveries of crops to the Bunge elevator. Instead, he was forced to take time away from harvesting to load the crops into his own storage bins. “That could have been time I could have been in the field,” he said. “That’s a hidden cost.”

The effect was also felt by shipping companies, which make more money the more trips their barges make. Barge operator Campbell Transportation Co. of Pittsburgh estimated a loss of $1 million in revenue in September and October because of the delays.

“This was the difference between a small profit and a big loss,” said Peter Stephaich, Campbell chief executive.

Replacing Locks and Dam No. 52 and nearby No. Army Corps of Engineers’ to do list for about 30 years, even as its backlog of other projects has grown.

Known as the Olmsted Locks and Dam, the replacement is set to finally be completed next year. Its cost has risen to about $3 billion from an original estimate of $775 million.

In the meantime, the short term work to fix the dam continues. Divers working in pitch black water needed a week to repair the largest hole in the 90 year old dam, one of the last on the river made of wooden slats. Repairs to three other worn and corroded sections may be completed this month.

For the seven man crew of the Oliver C. Shearer, one of 70 towboats hauling hundreds of barges carrying goods, the delay at Locks and Dam No. 52 meant killing time. But there was only so much paperwork, repairs, or waxing the checkerboard floor of the vessel that the crew could do.

“You start beating your head against the wall,” Michael McCloud, the boat’s captain,
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said in October as he looked out at idle barges on the Ohio River from the vessel’s bridge.