The chief weapon of sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.

June 18, 2017

The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody would be to not be used for anything by anybody. Thank you for using me, even though I didn’t want to be used by anybody.


Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007)

Congressman Nixon had asked me why, as the son of immigrants who had been treated so well by Americans, as a man who had been treated like a son and been sent to Harvard by an American capitalist, I had been so ungrateful to the American economic system.

The answer I gave him was not original. Nothing about me has ever been original. I repeated what my one-time hero, Kenneth Whistler, had said in reply to the same general sort of question long, long ago. Whistler had been a witness at a trial of strikers accused of violence. The judge had become curious about him, had asked him why such a well-educated man from such a good family would so immerse himself in the working class.

My stolen answer to Nixon was this: “Why? The Sermon on the Mount, sir.”

The most important message of a crucifix, to me anyway, was how unspeakably cruel supposedly sane human beings can be when under orders from a superior authority.

Are there 10 worthwhile spouse/clients in the +1,000 CDN Tim Hortons franchisee group?

February 18, 2015

Not likely because of their husband’s pride and material success.

Talent Vonnegut

If anyone can “save” Tim Hortons from the pirates, I can.


  • 10 franchisees/business partners (both partners, self-organized),
  • introductory meeting at one of their homes (with 3 couples plus Les),
  • confidentiality and exclusive agreement,
  • $50,000 each deposited in trust for litigation fund,
  • $5,000 per month per family (pre-authorized withdrawal), and
  • a percentage on the end (vig).

Why I would want to work with any franchisee (ever again in my entire life) is a very, very good question.

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.”

We all believe many things that are obviously untrue.

March 25, 2012

The most destructive untruth is how easy it is to make money.

They do not love each other because they do not love themselves.

Kurt Vonnegut 1922 – 2007

Blessed are the cheesemakers

July 27, 2010

I still believe that peace and plenty and happiness can be worked out some way. I am a fool.

A great swindle of our time is the assumption that science has made religion obsolete. All science has damaged is the story of Adam and Eve and the story of Jonah and the Whale. Everything else holds up pretty well, particularly lessons about fairness and gentleness. People who find those lessons irrelevant in the twentieth century are simply using science as an excuse for greed and harshness. Science has nothing to do with it, friends.

Kurt Vonnegut 1922 – 2007

Sermon on the Mount, Matthew:

  1. Blessed are the poor  in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
  3. Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
  5. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  6. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  8. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused.

July 15, 2010

Elvis had the great sense to marry a Canadian girl.

(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes, Elvis Costello, 1977

Oh I used to be disgusted
and now I try to be amused.
But since their wings have got rusted,
you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes.
But when they told me ’bout their side of the bargain,
that’s when I knew that I could not refuse.
And I won’t get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

I was watching while you’re dancing away.
Our love got fractured in the echo and sway.
How come everybody wants to be your friend?
You know that it still hurts me just to say it.

Oh, I know that she’s disgusted (oh why’s that)
Cause she’s feeling so abused. (oh that’s too bad)
She gets tired of the lust, (oh I’m so sad)
but it’s so hard to refuse.
How can you say that I’m too old,
when the angels have stolen my red shoes.

Oh, I said “I’m so happy, I could die.”
She said “Drop dead,” then left with another guy.
That’s what you get if you go chasing after vengeance.
Ever since you got me punctured this has been my sentence.
Oh I used to be disgusted
and now I try to be amused.
But since their wings have got rusted,
you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes.
Red shoes, the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

Attorneyless Franchisee Networks: The next Evolutionary step in franchisee advocacy

May 27, 2009

This is the most important post I’ve ever written (+800 so far).Evolution

There are 4 current categories of franchisee awareness of how to solve their problems.

  • Hint: You can’t do it alone but just signing up for an IndFA is putting your neck in a second noose.

Four Stages:

1. You think you can do it alone. No informal or formal franchisee organization. You consider everyone else a loser if they have a problem or are not achieving their goals. Contempt for anyone not rowing in unison.

2. Franchisee Advisory Council, FAC. My franchisor is simply misunderstood and is my “fwend”. It is better to to co-operate and work within rather than try to think for yourself. My field guy says “gosh, Les. We’ve never heard that concern before. We’ll check into it.” If you only explain your concerns, then, the franchisor will change his ways because both franchisor and franchisee have to be successful, right?

3. Independent Franchisee Association, IndFA. How could I have I been that gullible and stupid? Talk about a legal revolution to get “respect”. Everyone throw some money in and we get a bad-ass lawyer to whip some franchisor butt.

Some poor schmuck volunteers to be the IndFA president, paints red circles on his chest and then routinely gets his head cut off. The sheep scatter…see you in 10 years. Ho hum…all in a day’s work in FranchisorLand. Read Darrell Dunafon’s FTC Oversight Hearing testimony on for a very typical example. Excerpt:

Intimidation, threats, coercion, loss of support, insults, and ultimately, exile – that is the price I paid for having the courage to speak for myself and nearly 90% of the other Taco Bell franchisees that were members of the International Association of Taco Bell Franchisees (“IATBF”) when I was thrust into the leadership role of the organization in May of 1993.

And that is with a high-profile franchisor. It only gets more brutal the smaller the system. If you thought your franchisor was ruthless, just wait and sign up with your 2nd credence good cheater (any franchise lawyer).

4. Attorneyless Franchisee Networks, AFN. My invention. You read it here first.

Cut a spider’s head off and the body dies. However, cut a starfish’s leg off and the severed leg regenerates.  It’s all about the power of decentralization.

Buy read & re-read: The Spider and the Starfish: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.


There is no need (and it is preferable never) to ever talk to a franchisor to get what you want. The occasional communique demand over a weblog’ll do the trick. They will try to suck you dry but they can’t  join a mature, productive social club that is linked together by mutual interests and digital information sharing. There is no reason why there cannot be 2 or 3 or 6 different AFNs, organized in geographic areas perhaps.

Don’t want to recognize an AFN or talk to spokesperson? That is not a barrier at all. Permission is not needed for people to form together.

Assemble a free-lance, non-credence good team of advisors together to help move your agenda along. Treating your situation as if it were primarily a legal problem is a huge mistake, good only for lining the professional’s pockets (both sides).

Build trust over time within your group. Only need 10 to 15% initial buy in. Get the spouses on board. Keep the digital video camera handy for YouTube channels and archives. Good fun watching whitey jump.

Transparency. Accountability. Trust. Co-operation. Fun. Ownership, should be the principles.

This is where franchising is going.  And The Suits have no patch for this, btw.

Details upon request.

PS: Stage 5. More digitally-based social media but it isn’t the technology that will push the goal of franchisee awareness. The greatest barriers to innovation are in renewing the franchisees’ diminished capacity for realizing that they, right now, here and now, have the power and responsibility for assuming control of their own lives again.

The greatest barrier in any situation is diminished capacity for franchisees to believe in themselves.

Wisdom: Who are you going to Trust?

February 5, 2009

loserQ: Why would anyone trust a middle-aged, former bankrupt, twice-sued, paunchy Canadian loser former franchisee without any visible means of economic support?

A: Hey I always put on weight over the winter. I install irrigation and lighting systems for a type of living.

[I forgot balding…]

Yeah well…I’m out and you’re not. That’s why.

But don’t believe me. And certainly don’t follow me anywhere. I had my ambition lobotomy done years ago.

When pain shows up, it is perfectly human to focus exclusively on the wound. The unintended consequence is that a person’s imagination and critical thinking abilities are diminished.

But we’re all in luck: Other people have written about life and we might gain some comfort in standing on their shoulders instead of cowering (which is exactly the behaviour we are expected to exhibit).


Hell is not punishment. It’s training. Shunryu Suzuki

Hated by fools, and fools to hate, Be that my motto and my fate. Jonathan Swift

Still and all, why bother? Here’s my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

When the pupil is ready to learn, a teacher will appear. Zen Proverb

To the fool, he who speaks wisdom will sound foolish. Euripedes

He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure. Joseph Campbell

Humor is essential to a successful tactician, for the most potent weapons know to mankind are satire and ridicule. Saul Alinsky

Food for the mind is like food for the body: the inputs are never the same as the outputs. Marshall McLuhan

A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself. John Stuart Mill

Shame always comes upon me like an internal hemorrhage for which I am completely unprepared. Jean Paul Sartre

A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it. G.K. Chesterton

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. C.S. Lewis

If you are going through hell, keep going. Winston Churchill

No one can think clearly in the moment of shame. Charles Darwin

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. Kahlil Gibran

When you’ve robbed a man of everything he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It is only work that is done as a free-will offering to humanity and to nature that does not bring with it any binding attachment. Swami Vivekananda

“You see,” said Aslan. “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out. But come, children. I have other work to do.”

C.S. Lewis

When the water rises to the upper decks, follow the rats.

June 26, 2008

Sound advice, particularly when considering investing in a Mom-and-Pop franchise.

You may also want to think about a few other well-chosen words:

Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

In point of substantial merit the law school belongs in the modern university no more than a school of fencing or dancing. Thorstein Veblen

The public regards lawyers with great distrust. They think lawyers are smarter than the average guy but use their intelligence deviously. Well, they’re wrong. Usually they’re not smarter. F. Lee Bailey

If I want to look at a Fool, I have only to look in the mirror. Seneca

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