Nolanville man presented with $1M check by Old Navy


HARKER HEIGHTS — Nolanville resident and Army veteran Scott Rowe is still in a state of disbelief after finding out he won $1 million in Old Navy’s Overnight Millionaire Black Friday Sweepstakes.

Rowe, 35, and his family gathered Wednesday with store officials in the Harker Heights Old Navy store, where he was presented with his $1 million check.

“We had Thanksgiving dinner and decided to do some shopping and that’s when we found out about the contest,”

Rowe said. “I was standing in line behind like 300 other people and I was joking with a lady in front of me who already had a (contest) bracelet on that she didn’t have to worry about the rules because I had already won.”

Little did he know, he would get a phone call that would change his life Friday.

“When I got the call after picking up my mom from the Killeen airport, I thought it was a prank,” he said. “You fill out those sweepstakes forms and then you forget about it because the odds of you actually winning are not possible.”

According to Julie Luker, Old Navy spokeswoman, Rowe was randomly selected from more than 500,000 sweepstakes entrants from stores across North America. The first 500 people who entered an Old Navy store on Black Friday were given a game piece, which they later had to register online to be eligible for the grand prize.

“When the call came through, I thought to myself ‘there is no way this is happening to me,’” Rowe said. “The good Lord has shined down on me and my family and blessed us with this.”

Scheduled to go back to Afghanistan in 11 days to resume training explosive detection dogs, Rowe recently submitted his letter of resignation.

“This is the first time in four years I will be home for Christmas,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to spending quality time at home with my family.”

His daughters, Paityn, 6, and Keiley, 7, received an early Christmas gift this year: being able to open gifts together as a family.

“I’m really happy my daddy doesn’t have to go back to Afghanistan,” Paityn said.

Keiley said she is looking forward to opening presents face-to-face this year, instead of via Skype.

Despite being a $1 million richer, his No. 1 objective with the money is to secure his daughters’ futures.

“I can set them up to go to college now without having to worry,” he said.

“Sure, I’ll buy some things here and there and we will go on some family trips, but my No. 1 priority is my girls and there well-being.”

Steve Stickel, senior vice president and head of stores for GAP, said Black Friday comes and goes and the company wanted to do something special this year and reach out to its customers.

“Here at GAP we sell more than just clothes,” he said. “We set out to make a difference in someone’s life with this contest and no one is more deserving than Scott. His story is magical.”


Oakland Sears still hasn’t repaired windows


For a short time in July, downtown Oakland looked like a ghost town marked by boarded-up windows and graffiti after rioters, angry at the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, swept through the area with masked faces.

But while other small businesses and shops replaced their glass and cleaned up their storefronts within a few weeks, Sears, one of the city’s biggest retailers, still looks practically abandoned almost five months later.

The big building at 1955 Broadway, which spans more than half a block, still has giant sheets of plywood over most of its windows. Almost every opening along the Telegraph Avenue side is blocked out, and the store’s cheery holiday displays on 20th Street are also half hidden by the boards.

Neighbors have spent the past few months asking the store’s managers and the city to fix the storefront, but have gotten no results.

“I walk past it every day – it’s depressing,” said Gilbert Lara, 46, who lives a block away. “It really affects the quality of life in that area because the building’s such a huge presence there.”

Sears, though, has no plans to fix the problem. Howard Riefs, a company spokesman, said that because the windows are difficult to replace, the store has no time frame for when repairs will begin and end.

“The custom windows date back to the 1930s, and replacing them is more complicated than those in a typical building,” he said.

Lara said neighbors, after hearing a similar response from Sears, went to the city for help. Under Oakland’s municipal code, inspectors can cite businesses or individuals for building code violations or blight.

Rachel Flynn, director of Oakland’s Department of Planning and Building, said the agency tries to work with property owners on a resolution before issuing citations or fees. A few months ago, she said, inspectors informed Sears that it could not have exposed and unfinished wood on its windows, prompting the store to paint the plywood.

When the city continued to get complaints about the windows, inspectors cited the business last month for general blight, Flynn said. Sears was given a month to respond to the citation with a plan to fix the issue.

“Our goal is to always to work with property owners and see what can be done and what is reasonable,” she said. “That’s what we’ll have to do.”

Lara said while no downtown business deserved to be vandalized in July, the majority of them – many small, local businesses with considerably less wealth than corporations like Sears – had taken care of their damage within a week. But almost five months later, Sears still can’t seem to get it together.

“I stopped following up because we were just getting the same answer and nothing was happening,” he said. “It feels like no one cares about this neighborhood.”

What’s not working

Issue: The windows of the Sears department store in downtown Oakland remain broken and boarded up from a protest almost five months ago.

What’s been done: Sears representatives said the windows are difficult and expensive to replace, and that they have no timeline for when repairs will begin. City officials said they’re working with Sears to reach a resolution, and have already cited them under the city’s municipal code for a blight violation. Sears officials have a month to come up with a plan to fix the windows

Who’s responsible: Howard Riefs, director of communications, Sears Holdings Corp. – Howard.Riefs@, (847) 286-8371. Rachel Flynn, director of Oakland’s Department of Planning and Building –, (510) 238-2229.

Carolee Setting Up Shop in Macy’s

Carolee has found a new home: Macy’s Herald Square. The fashion jewelry brand is setting up shop within Macy’s flagship with a 200-square foot space.
The boutique, located on the store’s newly renovated first floor, marks a reunion for the brand and retailer.
“If you go back 10 years or so, we had about half a dozens shop-in-shops, including with Macy’s,” said Carolee president Joel Fivis. “But the trends change, and a lot of stores went from having shop-in-shops to a more generic presentation of fashion jewelry. We think the pendulum may be swinging back the other way now.”
Standing near the Michael Kors and Sunglass Hut shop-in-shop outposts, the Carolee space integrates new technology with classic jewelry displays. A stacked bazel-less video screen displays short seasonal videos, while special LED lighting creates extra sparkle to the stands.
To celebrate the new shop, the brand has created a new “Simply Emerald” collection. The line, available through the holidays, will be sold exclusively at the Herald Square location.
“Macy’s Herald Square has a very traveled audience, so it makes economic sense to develop things specifically for the store,” Fivis said. “It’s a win-win for us.”
Additionally, Carolee plans roll out several events throughout the holiday season, beginning this evening with an in-store appearance by Allen Schwartz, designer of ABS by Allen Schwartz Jewelry, a liscensee of Carolee.  Beginning at 6 p.m., Schwartz will be on hand to personally accessorize shoppers in his designs.

Toys ‘R’ Us Agrees to Settlement in Price-Overcharge Case

Retail chain Toys R Us agreed to pay about $178,700 to resolve a consumer case involving purported overcharges to customers at the company’s stores in California, including Los Angeles County, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige approved the settlement payment, under which the Delaware-based corporation did not admit any wrongdoing. The settlement resolves a complaint by Los Angeles and San Diego county prosecutors alleging pricing errors at checkstands at the corporation’s toy stores and Babies R Us outlets.

Pricing inspections conducted by county and state agencies between late 2009 and mid-2012 revealed a pattern of inaccuracies in prices charged at many Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in California, including some of the 10 in the San Diego area and 30 in Los Angeles County, according to the plaintiffs.

The checks found overcharges in 5 percent of a survey of about 4,200 purchases, court documents stated. Higher percentage errors were found in selected areas and stores, despite a pricing-compliance program that Toys R Us had implemented.

Under the terms of the settlement, Toys R Us-Delaware Inc. is enjoined to fully comply with California’s pricing-accuracy and false-advertising laws, and must implement an additional internal compliance program with annual reporting to the Los Angeles County and San Diego County district attorneys’ offices.

The corporation also agreed to pay agency investigative costs of $28,730 and civil penalties totaling $150,000, to be divided equally between the two prosecuting counties.

Pandora Following Script That Could Keep Crushing Shorts

I guess, at the end of every hard-earned day … if I expect to still find some reason to believe, I need to cue up Springsteen and then call out financial media injustice. This time with respect toPandora (P_).

It’s a shame to see Seeking Alpha, the site that provided me and so many of my friends and colleagues with an excellent platform to learn and grow from, devolve into a sweatshop for uninformed and poorly-researched “Short Ideas.”

There’s a “contributor” to Seeking Alpha who stands out among the handful who constantly publish bearish Pandora proclamations. This person only rises from the pack because his short theses do not stand up to even the lightest journalistic eyeball or most casual edit.

I presume Seeking Alpha has stopped using editors because the ones I worked with between 2011 and 2012 would have never let this sort of tripe get past them.

In “Quoth the Raven’s” most recent Pandora piece, he tells us that …

Clearly, the active listeners have started to hit some type of plateau …

He makes this case void of any context whatsoever beyond what he can pull from his clearly uninformed and shamefully opportunistic perch.

First, moderation in the growth of listenership, whether you choose to use listener hours or active listeners, has been expected for years. It’s expected as a general function of the broad business Pandora runs in. But it’s also expected by Pandora’s own admission.

This is where Seeking Alpha is culpable. Any good editor would have directed this “writer” to do a search for the Pandora ticker (it’s ‘P’) at the very Web site he writes for. He would have, after about a minute and a half of searching, come across the articles I cited in this week’s Pandora: The Definitive Look Back and Look Ahead.

These linked articles, published at Seeking Alpha, explicitly state — in my own words and in the words of Pandora’s CFO in 2012 — that Pandora would see growth moderate. Anybody who has even studied the dynamics of Pandora’s business understands this. It’s not the shocking relevation “Quoth the Raven” makes it out to be. It’s not something Pandora has been hiding from us and does not want us to see.

There’s absolutely zero smoke and mirrors here.

As transparent as can be, Pandora has been anticipating and preparing for moderation in growth for years. Certainly longer than this person has been producing hack journalism for a once-respected Web site. And, like the good business it is, Pandora has clear-headed ideas on how its business will play out.


Winter weather advisory issued for region



After awakening to spring-like weather Thursday, Pittsburghers were in for a second awakening — a rude one — that will be soaked with rain, chilled by a dive in the temperature and possibly coated with ice and/or snow.

Rain moved in during the balmy morning, causing the National Weather Service to post a flood advisory for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, in effect from 1 a.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Sunday.

As much as 1.5 to 3 inches of rain was expected to fall over the Monongahela, Youghiogheny and Cheat river basins.

The weather service said the rivers at the Point in Downtown Pittsburgh would pass the 18-foot threshold for Mon Wharf flooding on Saturday morning, eventually topping out just above 20 feet, which is enough to swamp parts of the North Shore Riverwalk.

That prompted the Public Parking Authority to close the wharf for parking today as a precaution. It will remain closed until further notice. The weather service said it didn’t expect the river to recede until late Sunday.

As with last week’s storm, Pittsburgh will spend time on the edge of freezing, creating uncertainty about what will fall and when. The weather service said most precipitation south of the city will be rain, while to the north it will be frozen. The likely transition from rain to something else is expected to come late this afternoon or early in the evening.

AccuWeather, based in State College, said 1 to 3 inches of snow would fall in Pittsburgh tonight after the changeover.

The weather service Thursday night posted a winter weather advisory for Allegheny and surrounding counties, with 1 to 3 inches of snow and sleet possible, from 7 a.m. today to midnight.

The weather service and AccuWeather forecasts call for a break in precipitation for much of Saturday, but much colder with a high in the low 30s. The rain-snow-sleet trio will perform again on Sunday.

The Thursday high temperature of 61 degrees in Pittsburgh was well above the normal high of 43 for the date but did not threaten the all-time record of 73 degrees set in 2001.

Is there a ‘dark side’ to Amazon drones, Google robots?

I’ve got drones in my future.

I use Amazon’s Prime delivery service for everything from rechargable batteries to art books to beef jerky, and so I was quite taken aback when CEO Jeff Bezos showcased a drone delivery system called Prime Air on 60 Minutes this past weekend. The idea is that packages below five pounds could be delivered straight from Amazon distribution centers to customers within 30 minutes using drones.

For now, it seems like half pipe dream, half pseudo-marketing: As many have observed, it probably wasn’t a coincidence that the 60 Minutes segment aired on Sunday ahead of Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year — a good time for Amazon to be in the news.

Since Sunday’s show, media coverage of Bezo’s plan has overwhelmingly focused on the technical and logistical aspects of Prime Air.

For example, will the FAA be okay with all these drones flying around? Are they safe enough to fly around crowded cities and neighborhoods? And can Amazon economically operate what would be a presumably large fleet of drones?

And Amazon’s not the only one in this game. The Verge reported that United Parcel Service is researching delivery drones, too.

Additionally, we learned this week that Google acquired seven robotics companies, which, according to a New York Times report, “are capable of creating technologies needed to build a mobile, dexterous robot.”

Remember, Google has been experimenting with driverless cars, and is actually running a same-day delivery service in California, so it is definitely interested in humanless logistics, for lack of a better term.

The Dark Side

I find it a bit disturbing how little conversation there is about the possible negatives of replacing humans with machines for things like delivering packages.

Here’s a passage from the Times’ article that actually startled me a bit:

A realistic case, according to several specialists, would be automating portions of an existing supply chain that stretches from a factory floor to the companies that ship and deliver goods to a consumer’s doorstep.

“The opportunity is massive,” said Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business. “There are still people who walk around in factories and pick things up in distribution centers and work in the back rooms of grocery stores.”

In terms of the massive opportunity, it certainly isn’t for the middle class. Mr. McAfee himself discussed this issue in a June piece from the M.I.T. Technology Review, fittingly titled “How Technology Destroys Jobs”:

New technologies are “encroaching into human skills in a way that is completely unprecedented,” McAfee says, and many middle-class jobs are right in the bull’s-eye; even relatively high-skill work in education, medicine, and law is affected. “The middle seems to be going away,” he adds. “The top and bottom are clearly getting farther apart.” While technology might be only one factor, says McAfee, it has been an “underappreciated” one, and it is likely to become increasingly significant.

And what about the people who make a living in the back rooms of grocery stores? Should we simply write them off as left behind because machines are more productive?

Here’s more from the Times’ on Google’s Andy Rubin, the engineer behind the Android operating system who is now heading up the company’s robotics effort:

“I have a history of making my hobbies into a career,” Mr. Rubin said in a telephone interview. “This is the world’s greatest job. Being an engineer and a tinkerer, you start thinking about what you would want to build for yourself.”

He used the example of a windshield wiper that has enough “intelligence” to operate when it rains, without human intervention, as a model for the kind of systems he is trying to create. That is consistent with a vision put forward by the Google co-founder Larry Page, who has argued that technology should be deployed wherever possible to free humans from drudgery and repetitive tasks.

Well, there are a lot of people who earn honest livings from drudgery and repetitive tasks.

My father dropped out of school at a pretty early age. But he went to trucking school and learned a skill that allowed him to earn a good living doing something he enjoyed. In fact, he’d still be doing it at 71 if he could get his big belly up into the cab.

Nonetheless, as much as he liked his job, he certainly experienced a lot of drudgery and repetition — there was a lot of waking up at 4:00 a.m. to do round trips from Brooklyn to Indiana, and an awful lot of late nights on the road.

But would it have been better for that job to not exist?

The Great Debate

There’s no standing in the way of technological advancement. But we shouldn’t gloss over the inevitable friction that comes with evolution, especially since in this case, the end result looks like a class war.

The victims of this relentless innovation in automation will be, at least initially, people who work in factories, for delivery services, and in service industries like retail — not the programmers and entrepreneurs who reap the economic benefits of increased productivity.

The good news is that a truly automated world still seems pretty far off.

But that’s exactly why we should be talking about it now.

‘Sound of Music’: Laura Benanti talks live performance, Carrie Underwood, and why musicals are ready for a comeback

The Sound of Music Live! - Season 2013



TV fans may already know Laura Benanti from roles on Go On, The Playboy Club, Law and Order:SVU, and many others. And of course theater lovers have long been fans of the Tony-winning Broadway performer. On Thursday night, the two worlds merged when Benanti stole the show as Elsa in NBC’s ratings smash Sound of Music Live!, leading more than a few viewers to hope that Captain von Trapp might end up with her as opposed to Maria.

While nothing so sacrilegious happened, Benanti is enjoying increased attention since the broadcast. EW talked with the actress Friday afternoon about her day-of prep, tweeting offstage, and what she’s planning next.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First of all, congratulations. If Twitter is any indication, people are loving you particularly.
 Team Elsa! That makes me so happy. #GaysForElsa. I was so happy to see that, I literally gained 3,000 Twitter followers in three hours.

That’s nuts! The Baroness is making a comeback.
I know, man. I worked very hard to make her a person and not just a villain, so I was happy people felt that. It’s a tricky role, and it took work to make her more layered than that. I’m glad that that seems to have been effective.

I know you played Maria on Broadway in 1998. What made you want to come back to this piece in particular?
I love [chairman of NBC Entertainment] Bob Greenblatt; he’s really looked out for me. It just felt like a time in my life to come full circle. The Sound of Music was at the beginning of my career, it’s what started me. It just felt like a nice thing to do around the holidays. I love Bob and I love NBC, and I was excited to work with this cast.

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Take me through your day before showtime.
I got up, I worked out with Christian Borle and Stephen Moyer in the little tiny gym in our hotel. We went to rehearsal, we rehearsed in our street clothes, and then we ate and I took a nap and then we performed for America! [Laughs] Yup, no big deal. I was literally pooping my pants. I was so scared. I have never been that scared in my life.

You’re obviously a pro at the live aspect. What was different about performing for the camera as opposed to an audience? The fact that there wasn’t any clapping threw me.
18.5 million people watched! So when my train got stepped on, 18.5 million people saw me try to react to that, instead of 1,000 people. So that to me was the craziest thing. But I’m glad that we didn’t have an audience. Because when you have an audience, even when you’re acting to camera, you tend to play to the audience and that would have made our performances too big for the camera.

Did you give any advice to Carrie Underwood?
No, she didn’t need my advice. She was so brave and she worked so hard and I think she had such tremendous heart to open herself up in that way to something she had never done before and to do it in front of millions of people. She knows what it’s like to perform live; she doesn’t need any help from me.

Talk to me about working with Christian Borle. Watching the two of you play off each other — like in “How Can Love Survive” — was such a high point.
He is maybe my favorite scene partner I’ve ever had. He’s so playful and so smart and so funny. He makes me laugh harder than anybody makes me laugh. Every time that we do it is new. He’s always listening, he’s always thinking of something, he’s really, truly remarkable. He’s so fun.

Anything surprise you last night?
When my dress got stepped on! That surprised me. [Laughs] Honestly, I’m surprised that we didn’t have any mistakes. Considering what an enormous feat it is to do anything for three hours, I can’t believe that nothing bad happened. That’s what surprised me: how smoothly it went.

Right before showtime, were you all together?
Yes. We were all together, which was really beautiful. We were all together in one big hair/makeup room. The nuns were singing, the kids were singing, we were all hugging each other. It really became like a family. It was a tremendous group of people. And I have to say, I think that’s a real testament to this Broadway community, because the majority of the people in this show in the ensemble are Broadway people, and there is just a generosity to the theatrical community that permeates everything. So I was very happy for Carrie and Stephen to get to feel that.

Big burning question: About 30 seconds after you were done, you immediately tweeted. Was someone holding your phone backstage?
I had my phone backstage in my little cubicle that I shared with Ariane [Rinehart], who played Liesl. … I literally walked offstage, grabbed my phone and tweeted it. I thought that would be funny. … [Post-show] we all had a party and hung out and ate food and drank. Some of the nuns had written a song for Carrie that they performed. Mostly we just hugged each other because we’re all sad it’s over.

The ratings for this were huge!
They were huge! Which is exciting, because to me that says they’re going to do it again. And let me tell you something: I’m so excited that people who aren’t necessarily familiar with musical theater or who don’t have a theater in their hometown or don’t live anywhere near a metropolis, the idea that musical theater is coming into people’s living rooms again makes me so happy.

I would love to see musicals make a comeback.
Right? I would too. Not to mention the fact that Broadway has become so prohibitively expensive. If you could see a Broadway show basically in your living room in your bathrobe once a year? How great.

Speaking of listening to Broadway in your bathrobe, what can you tell me about your new cabaret CD In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention?
I’ve been doing these sort of one-woman shows all over the country, and I thought that would be a really good way to dip my toe into the album water. Because I’ve not known what I’ve wanted to do in terms of a studio album, because I have such eclectic tastes in music. But I also like the fact that I am a live performer. In this day and age where everybody is Auto-Tuned within an inch of their life, it’s nice to have an album where you can say, “This person isn’t Auto-Tuned at all!” And there’s some mistakes here and there, but this is live. And I like the idea of people getting to hear the patter in between the songs. You get a sense of how silly I am, which a lot of people don’t know. [Note: As evidence, check her hilarious Tonys performance this past year.]

Actually, Matthew Perry came up with the title. I had been calling my show Let Me Entertain You, as a nod toGypsy, and he said, “Look, that’s fine, but it’s sort of boring and people need to know how weird you are.” And I said, “OK.” So he came up with the title, and I’m really proud of it. … I feel like when you listen to the album, you feel like you’re there, and again, not everybody can get to a cabaret space, so this is like hearing a show, but you get to do it from the comfort of your own home.

If NBC does something like this again, what production would you like to see?
I want them to do something with me! [Laughs] I would like to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. They will never do that. … I think it has to stay in the family-friendly zone. Peter Pan, maybe?

My pick is Cinderella.
Cinderella would be great! You know that has been done [on TV]. White Christmas? It could be Christian Borle and Stephen Moyer and then me and Audra [McDonald]!

We’re so there.

Stop freaking out about the United States’ World Cup draw


Yes, this is a hard group.

Really, it couldn’t have been more difficult. The Americans open the tournament against Ghana, who eliminated the U.S. in the last two World Cups, and then face two of Europe’s best teams in Portugal (in the Amazon rainforest) and Germany (who the U.S. lost to in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups).

Compounding the task of advancing to the second round is the ridiculous amount of travel facing the United States. The Americans will have logged nearly 9,000 miles after they complete group play. To recap: The U.S. will play the team that has ended their last two World Cup runs, one of the best players in the World, and a three-time World Cup champion.

In 20 years, there hasn’t been a harder Group of Death. But this is why it’s going to be OK.

The U.S. is fitter than any other team on earth.

There isn’t a team better suited to handle the rigors of travel and less-than-ideal conditions. For all the things the United States has lacked in the past, it has always been one of the fittest teams on the planet. No one wants to play in a rainforest, but if you do, the longer you can keep up the pressure the better you will be. These games won’t be won in the first 15 minutes, but they very well could be lost in the final 15. Who is going to be able to keep running on empty in the stifling jungle? Bet on the U.S.

Jurgen Klinsmann has made the roster deeper than ever before.

The lack of depth has plagued the U.S. for decades. They simply didn’t have the quality to last an entire month in 2010. The playmakers ran out of gas, and the team limped into its second round game against Ghana. That won’t be the case this year. The U.S. has a bench capable of maintaining that quality throughout the group stage. That quality will be especially important heading into the final match against Germany.

The U.S. is resilient.

Advancing out of the group stage has nothing to do with being the best team and everything to do with being the most consistent team. The U.S. has never won two matches in group play, and yet advanced out of their group in two of the last three World Cups. The 2010 Group of Death featured Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, and Portugal playing some of the most uninspired, conservative soccer in recent memory. Brazil snatched first in that group with two wins and a draw, while Portugal took second with a win and two draws.

If the U.S. is able to knock off Ghana to start the tournament, they control their own destiny. A strong defensive shape, strong set pieces, and a scrappy mentality have served the Americans well in the past. It will again.

The U.S. is better.

The quality overall is simply better. This is a team that can survive without players who they leaned on heavily in years past, like Landon Donovan. If the U.S. drew this group in 2002, 2006, or 2010, it would have been too much to overcome. Not anymore, and not with this talent pool. The 2014 World Cup should be an opportunity for players like Graham Zusi and Omar Gonzalez to shine, and set into motion a new generation of American soccer.

It’s time to grow up.

American soccer has come a long way since 1990, and every World Cup, U.S. fans cross their fingers for a favorable draw. At some point, it’s time to buck up and embrace the challenge. When Paul Caliguiri hit the shot heard round the world against Trinidad in 1989, he launched U.S. soccer into a stratosphere it had never encountered. The ’90s saw the founding of Major League Soccer and the United States’ first appearance in the knockout stage since 1930.

That revolution started with a team in 1989 facing what seemed to be insurmountable odds.

Kind of like now.

What’s the new Mustang’s big secret?

The 2015 Ford Mustang is the most technologically advanced example of the model in its half-century history.

Along with an optional 305 hp turbocharged and direct fuel injected four-cylinder engine, and the first independent rear suspension on a standard production ‘Stang, the new car offers a laundry list of electronic goodies.

There’s blind-spot monitoring; reverse cross-traffic alert; adaptive radar cruise control; a collision warning system; four selectable drive modes; a MyFord Touch infotainment interface; Track Apps, which has among other things a built-in quarter-mile clock complete with a drag strip-style Christmas Tree countdown timer and launch control on V8 models to go with it. Even the roof on the convertible version opens twice as fast as the one on the current car can.

But that’s not all.

At the New York unveiling of the car, Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Pericak said that his baby has a few more things up its sleeve than what was revealed at the event.

“A lot of new features and technology and I even have some that I’m not ready to tell you about, but we don’t forget how to play to the kid inside of us,” he told “We’ve got another feature coming that will be an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] first.”

But what could it possibly be?

Self-parking is old news these days, as is built-in WiFi.

Ford already offers configurable ambient lighting in pretty much all of its cars, including the Mustang, so it won’t be that.

Automated perfuming? Nope, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has that for some reason, and the Mustang is a muscle car, after all.

The 2012-2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 came with a special key that remapped the engine tuning to optimize it for track use, but that’s obviously been done before, by Pericak’s team!

Personally, I’m voting for a pre-installed nitrous oxide system, but am also guessing that the Feds might have an issue with that.

High Gear Media editorial director Marty Padgett suggests a smoky-burnout feature for the launch control for drivers who can’t execute a proper brake stand on their own. This would be awesome, for sure, and is well within the realm of possibility.

In any event, it may be quite a while before we find out. The 2015 Mustang doesn’t go on sale until next Fall.

Have any ideas while we wait? Let us know in the comments section.