Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Man Eat Man, Man Eat Tiger, Lion Eat Tiger, Oh My!


Whoever said it's a dog-eat-dog world surely worked in corporate America. But that topic is as dead as the tiger in the next story.

A man who eats a tiger made the headline news recently.

Not Tiger Woods eating soup through a straw, mind you.

And not a wild beast of a tiger on the loose, terrorizing many innocents and dining on a few.

A man. Ate a tiger. Now is in jail. With what I can only presume to be a massive case of indigestion or something even more uncomfortable.

Geez people.

In other bad news involving tigers and holiday snacking, click here.


Happy holidays indeed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No Better Time to Seek Good Karma


'Tis the season to give and receive.
To eat and to play. To hug and to be hugged.

Near the end of one of my latest blog posts, I included a link to a site that offered insight into something we'll call "social media karma." From all practical standpoints, let's broaden our horizons and consider the entire picture. Human karma. Good karma. Seeking good karma.

No time is better than the present. And no present is better than the gift that keeps giving. Seeking karma, in essence, is the best gift to give because it's the best gift to get.

Veteran social media blogger Chris Brogan recently penned a blog passage about how folks can use the season as a reason to give back a little while not asking for anything in return.This is an excellent idea. "Give what you can," is the theory here.

Here is a tiny sampling of choices for giving this season.

Staying local is a good idea if you want to donate your time and energy, but sometimes you can stay local and get more involved than you think. Here is a good example of how a branch of Habitat for Humanity in a little town in Canada offers people a chance to donate to their charity via the purchase of "gifts" for the holidays.

From a marketing perspective, I think State Farm's latest "Thanks For Being There Campaign," is a good example of how corporations can jump on the humanity bandwagon and offer something free to consumers.
Here is another link for a quick and easy and oh-so-delightful way to give thanks by saying thanks, thanks to Xerox. Take a moment and send a holiday blessing to a soldier. You will be glad you did.


Facebook offers users the chance to purchase (errrr...donate) little donation tickets to pass out as gifts to others. Pretty neat way of making someone feel special - by allowing them to take their donation and actually hand it off to the organization they choose. I liken this to how children enjoy dropping the coins into the Salvation Army bucket as parents watch with pride. Everyone is left with a warm smile.

And of course, Google is a terrific example of how a corporation bands together and at the same time ropes in all it's extended family in order to spread a little more joy a little farther this tight holiday season. Check out their efforts here. 



Dr. Oz is a consummate example of how to not only lead a healthier lifestyle, but to also remain humane in all aspects of life that may make this tiny world a better place to live. I say this because his show happens to be aired at the exact time I hit the gym for an afternoon run. And there are only two types of television shows to watch once I hurdle the three mile marker and need to make at least another two. Show 1: Something that irritates the crap out of me and makes my blood boil. Like, say...Jersey Shore, any form of Housewives, My Sweet 16...oh god...I think I need to go to the gym now just thinking about it all...Show 2: (The preferred genre) is one that is incredibly uplifting and inspirational. Both genres keep me going until I am well past stated goal of huffing a couple miles farther. The difference is that Dr. Oz allows me to feel like the world is a good place. The other shows make me feel like drinking straight vodka. Check out what Dr. Oz says about being a giving person...he'll tell you, "The more you value what you are doing with your mind, the more you'll do healthier things with your body."

Amen to that.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Problem with Paltrow

How wonderful it must be to be, well, wonderful.


Just ask the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and they will tell you how wonderful it must be. Or rather, they will tell you that they have had it up to here [very, very top of head] with not being so wonderful and not at all getting things for free.


As the basis for regulating fair business practices in our democratic society, the FTC is a governmental agency that seeks to uphold three basic tenants of our free market; 1. not restricting free trade and competition among businesses...2. not allowing bad business behaviors that may lead to the creation of a monopoly...and 3. supervising big business deals to make sure things are legal and safe and wonderful.


Back in June, there was talk about new regulations from the FTC that would force folks to disclose who was paying them, how and for what whenever they decided to talk about whatever it is they wanted to promote. Which really means that the FTC was going after writers - bloggers specifically and celebrity endorsers who get so much free press time - who talk about/blog about products and or services that they may have received as freebies or reviewed for payment.


I haven't (paid much attention to) or heard much about this particular piece of legislation until yesterday when I read up on Gwyneth Palrow's little trip to Morocco. Seems ole' Gwynnie's got some explaining to do as she enjoyed a "lavish" hotel and spa stay as a potential gift in exchange for her glowing review on her hot social media site, Goop.


Here is an excerpt from her popular parenting/lifestyle/wonderful-life-I-lead site:

"I just took a very impromptu first trip to Marrakesh, Morocco where I fell in love with the place, it's magic. An absolute world away in almost every respect, there is something special in the air there. It is a place I will surely revisit...I couldn’t resist a daily Hammam treatment at the hotel’s spa. Get this: 15 minutes in a steam room, a full-body lather in Black Soap, an exfoliating rub down, a Ghassoul (Moroccan clay) body masque, and then a warm shower... Ridiculously lavish!"

In the name of full disclosure, I should report that Jennifer Aniston, Adrien Brody, Salma Hayek, Orlando Bloom and other top celebrities were on the invite list to the reopening of the wonderful and fabulous new hotel and spa. And according to published stories, no one will comment on who paid for what and how these superstars intend to pay it forward.

The only real evidence we can document is that the FTC issued guidelines published last month on how not to act if indeed, you are deemed "wonderful," like Paltrow and her peers. And of course, another piece of the puzzle is how Paltrow fell over herself explaining how she discovered heaven on earth at this pricey-exclusive hideaway in Marrakech, Morroco.

My problem with this - and indeed, Paltrow herself - is that as a marketing communications professional I can see through some pretty serious bullshit and can only guess that EVERYTHING that comes out of a celebrity's mouth in the public realm is purposeful and planned. As in, paid in full advertisement. But as a consumer, I'm left guessing as to whether or not these product endorsement are real or simply purchased as part of a global marketing strategy. Is it true, then? Can everything be bought?


If you want to read more about this trending topic, check out what this blogger had to say about his starry, starry night under the Moroccan sky. Just don't look too careful for his full disclosure of who paid for his vacation to a fairy tale...

Disclaimer: Everyone knows what Tiger Woods did for Thanksgiving and how that is now affecting the world of advertising. Now everyone seems to care what Paltrow et al. did over the "ridiculously lavish" holiday weekend.  

Let it be said; I didn't travel to Morocco but I do have a pretty mean long drive.

And in the name of total transparency, let it be said that my next trip will likely be to my neighborhood Whole Foods store, where I will gobble as much free cheese as possible (and wine too if it's available!!) before leaving the wonderful super-duper-supermarket with one bag full of slightly overpriced-yet-totally-wonderful-goodness that, indeed, I paid for in full.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Buyers Beware...Sellers, Too


Social media is really the business of storytelling. But it's also about telling a story.

Why is that a problem? Because sometimes the story is one that is not meant to be told.

Check out this little diddy on a couple of stay-at-home dads trying to make the world a better place. One pound of bacon at a time. (Remember how much I adore bacon?)

Mike Sula, a food writer for the Chicago area, used social media avenues to tell - and sell - the story of these two renegade pig butchers and bakers. Sula wrapped up the story nicely by showing all sides to the argument of whether or not it's safe practice to be a stay-at-home sausage-assembler, but in the end he painted a picture of optimism benefiting the small food processing business.

The problem is...he also shed light on the fact that the two pig-slicer and dicers held no official USDA certification to sell their backfat to other local businesses and restaurants. That's the part of the story that USDA officials were particularly interested in. That's also the reason they invaded restaurants who had purchased the questionable meat product and ordered them to get rid of the potentially faulty goods in the name of public health and all that is wonderful and properly-sanctioned. So Sula followed up with another social media quest for total transparency in reporting and marketing communications. In this latest story, he basically takes responsibility of publishing the details of the underground meat processing by tagging the story, "bullshit."

Call it a dog-eat-dog, people-eat-pig kind of world, if you will. But the fact is that times are tough for some folks and even tougher for others.
As one commenter commented, "wow, three harmless businesses and hundreds of jobs slammed by one story. Can't you write about the crooked bankers instead?" (Don't look now, but this comment was made by Laurence Mate.. author of "This Little Piggy," a blog about being an ameteur charcuterie...)

Oh, I don't know if we need to switch from talking about piggies to talking about kittys. Seems to me that much is being said about "fat cat bankers" in the news today and not much is actually being done about anything. Unless, of course, you ask the poor bastards at Frontera Grill as they tossed out hundreds of dollars worth of sea-salted pig shoulders during a Christmas season where hunger knows no holiday.

In this era of ubiquitous telecommunications and never-ending media manipulation, maybe it's time we act as individuals and personally sharpen our focus on determining the real answer to the burning question of, "Just because I can, should I?"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

King of the World All Right

Google runs that world. I've said it before. I'll say it again. Google. Runs. The. World.
And if you don't believe me now, just wait until the Trojan horse of an Android scoops up everyone's attention while at the same time secretly spreading over the world of applications like Bobby Flay's chocolate genache.
Okay, okay. Maybe it doesn't exactly run the entire world. We know it doesn't successfully deliver unto us those missing socks from our dryers, so there is that for Google to work on...

But if you think that you are far removed from the Googleness of the world, then think again. No one is really that distanced from technology or global communication or heck, each other, for that matter. Why are we so surprised when we have those moments of realizing just how small the world is? When in fact, we really are probably about 6 degrees of separation from anyone, let alone Kevin Bacon. (My god, I heart bacon. That's a joke. I really don't care too much for it at all. I'm a runner who eats rather healthy.)

For all those who doubt what I am trying to say here and for all those who truly think that we exist in a world of serendipity, check out this article about social media karma. Believe it.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Dogs Never Bite Me, Humans Do

Marilyn Monroe may have said it, but pretty much everyone can understand what she was talking about. Dog or cat-lover and all between, we all can agree that the most dangerous species of them all is the human race.


Just ask three-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey. He'll tell you the truth. It's brutal out there, he will say. Ask him how he deals with it and you'll get a heaping helping of candor. Truthfully, he'll admit to using marijuana during the last three dog-sled races through the tundra. Why? Because he is a throat cancer survivor and a card-carrying member of the medical marijuana club. So he's got plenty of general consensus support (some say 3 out of 4 Americans would support legalizing medical marijuana, others have never experienced losing someone to cancer, but let's not focus on those lucky few.) Anyone with balls enough to stand up to and - bless their hearts and soul - be lucky enough to beat something as devastating as cancer (the evil of all evils, let's agree) deserves to carry whatever card he wants. But let's look a little closer.

He is smoking marijuana because he is racing across 1,100 miles of snow and arctic hell behind a pack of wild dogs. ON A SLED. Does this guy really need a test to prove that he may be impaired?

Thanks to rampant roid use in the mainstream media for regular folks and superstars alike, more and more racing events are randomly testing for illegal drug use; including marijuana and anabolic steroids. Now Iditarod race organizers are calling for mandatory marijuana testing. Of the humans, not the dogs. "I think it's a little bit ridiculous," Mackey told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner via The Associated Press late last week, "It's a dog race, not a human race."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Riddle Me This, Joker

What is easier...







1. A lion, a tiger, a bear (OH MY) sharing living space and not killing each other.


or


2. Five little monkeys jumping on the bed. Big monkeys, small world, after all...as The New York Observer observes that, "The company would make up one of the biggest alliances among rival publishers ever formed in print media, with Time Inc., Condé Nast and Hearst all expected to join, houses that together publish more than 50 magazines, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Esquire and O, The Oprah Magazine."


Well, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt has this advice for merging entities within the communications industry, "Don't get cocky..." or so the story goes...

Other advice from popular people worth their salt enough for us to even consider their advice:

Mark Twain: "Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often."

Tiger Woods: "I want to be what I've always wanted to be: dominant."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "When ideas fail, words come in very handy."

Justin Timberlake: "I used to think I actually was Batman."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Need To Run

Amid a flurry of seasonal worries of not enough time, too much food and altogether total and comprehensive overstimulation of nearly all senses, I find a burning desire to run.


Which obviously leads to guilt, confusion, a tad bit of depression when said running is not accomplished and a while lot of whining for those around me to endure. I would apologize for the ridiculous behavior and even more shameful thoughts except that I know I am not alone (thank goodness runners run the world!!) and I know that if I know this much about me and am willing to accept me for who I am, surely should those I bestow my love upon. (Ok. That's a big assumption - I KNOW - but still...the law of effective crisis communication is that if an expected circumstance occurs time and time again, no one should be surprised. Instead, all parties inherently grow fond of the consistency found in such inconsistence. Right?)

All of which is to say that there are some really rather fantastic international races coming fast upon us for next year and I wanted to share my excitement and the details with others who face the same seasonal dilemna while looking for something to look forward to.

The Barcelona Marato will kick off next season's racing with a March 7, 2010 race through the Street of Roman Walls, past Angel Square and by all the Gothic architecture. Add to that the Marato Expo, the Breakfast Run and the Pasta Party, and there is no crying in Barcelona.



The Prague Marathon; March, May and September offer a diverse array of race options with details available in 6 languages. And the advantage is that when you are done running the city, you will find yourself in the middle of one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Enjoy!

The Fortis Marathon Rotterdam; April 11, 2010, Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the largest sporting event in the Netherlands. From what I can tell, this is one of the most organized races on the face of the planet.

Same date, different race: the Milan City Marathon also takes place on April 11, 2010 and is known for a flat course with lots of fun and fashionable things to do after...


April 18, 2010 will bring about the Vienna City Marathon where runners will have the chance to be part of the "Vienna Sightjoggers" who run through the streets packed with cultural heritage and get a special tour running leader to point out all the areas of historical importance.

Known as a world-class running course that culminates at the Musselburgh Racecourse and also known as the fastest marathon in the UK, the Edinburgh Marathon is set for May 23, 2010 with a start time of 10 am. The Scottish Half starts at 8, so do 'em both if you can! There will be plenty of beer to help you through the recovery process!





Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Certainly Not A Gentleman and Apparently Doesn't Prefer Blondes


I'm talking about Tiger Woods, that is. The poor bastard still seems to be soaking in the limelight even though more interesting things are finally starting to pop up on the world news and trendy-things-to-chat-about radar. Just ask David Letterman.

Like the fact that the IndyCar princess Danica Patrick is going NASCAR. Er, rather, she is going to NASCAR. (Seriously, doesn't NASCAR sound like it should be a verb?? I'm just saying...)

How about how Helicopter Ben announced that he perhaps thinks that maybe there is a slight chance that economic conditions may or may not experience some rather modest growth MAYBE - like he said in his own opinion based solely on his own fleeting thoughts and analysis - to the Economic Club of Washington on Monday. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke remained cautiously optimistic and not one time mentioned what a conundrum we face as we enter a new era of simplicity and regular people problems. You know, like finding a job, paying for groceries, being able to afford diapers and school tuition and gas for a vehicle. Not to mention beer money. My god there is no better time to drink beer when the world around you seems to suck more and more every day. Ben looks like he needs one in the photo below.



In the world of publishing and social media, five of the world's giants are coming together to establish a digital newstand of sorts in 2010. An associated press account said that, "Time Inc., News Corp., Conde Nast, Hearst Corp., and Meredith Corp. are teaming up to create a digital format in color, rather than Kindle's gray "electronic ink." The format would work on a variety of devices, not just one."

So much for asking for a Kindle from Santa. (Again...pictured above...Santa is distraught because he now doesn't know what to bring me for Christmas...)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top Ten Top Ten Lists

In no particular order:


1. Ask.com's Top Questions of 2009. Check out this listing of lists on SearchEngineWatch.com for insight into what people wonder, why and how. Questions like, "When will the world end," and "What is a hedge fund?" are buttressed nicely with, "How long does marijuana stay in your system?" and "How do I get pregnant?" Yikes.

2. Mashable, The Social Media Guide provided an article on how cool it is to know Hulu's Mover's and Shaker's List. If you don't already know, Hulu is a site that offers tons and tons of commercial-supported streaming video (clips, ads, tv episodes, movies, etc.) So check out what people are watching before NBC and Comcast decide to change something for the sake of change.

3. The Top 10 Lists from Toptenz.net. Check out the top ten bad corporate decisions; like how M+M's refused to let Steven Spielberg use their product to be placed on the floor during a scene in his sci-fi movie, E.T. Reese's Pieces was happy to pick up -- er, put down, tiny delicious morsels of candy goodness. I'll take the peanut butter delights over the Mars choice any day. I'm not alien to innovation and good taste.





4. Justin Timberlake. Need I say more? Here is a recent sighting of the beautiful boy in his new curly locks and a rather crappy but kewl NPR t-shirt and listing of potential reasons for the sartorial choices.

5. Top Ten big myths about credit that can cost you. Okay, this one is rather dry and boring, but to tell the truth, it wouldn't matter what list followed the JT reference. It's all down hill after I start daydreaming about my dream baby daddy.

6. Top Ten fashion suggestions for nerds. You know who you are out there. And you know you appreciate the help. You are welcome.

7. Top Ten Branded Social Media Nightmares by InventorSpot. From not grabbing a Twitter handle fast enough to producing less than stellar advertising videos, check out these blunders that serve well when trying to educate the executives on how NOT to use social media for viral marketing.

8. Top Ten great healthfoods for eating well, sponsored by Mayo Clinic. It's surprising really, how many of these foods can be scooped into a plastic baggie and dragged around in the bottom of your bag until you realize you need it most. Almonds, blueberries, apples, vegetable juice...sour patch kids?!?! I wish...

9. Top Ten places to visit before you die. There are many lists that contain cool, funky ideas and traditional places to hang your hat before you kick the bucket. This list is a comprehensive list of my own personal favorite dream spots, but also provides a link at the bottom of the page that will direct you to a list of the top ten worst places to visit. Take the good, avoid the bad.

10. Top Ten Running Songs. Sure, we all have our favorites. But no serious runner would skip over one of these classic Top 40 energizing tunes if it were to shuffle on. Carry on...


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Which is Better: Too Much or Not Enough?

'Tis true...Mark Twain really did say, "Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough."

A consummate student of the written word and the various environments in which it thrives (or dies) - such as social media, marketing, crisis communications, public, private and more - I'm intrigued by popular press publishings as of late that really show off how much of a spectrum there is when it comes to disclosure.

Exhibit 1. Tiger Woods.

Exhibit 2. Sarah Henderson.

Exhibit 3. The White House Party Crashers.

Exhibit 4. All Else.

On one end of the publicity stick, you have Tiger Woods. He is at the center of attention because of an incident that occurred. He appears not to want the attention, but too bad. He's getting it. Just moments ago, he released an official press statement that asked for privacy as he dealt with his "personal failings." Very similar to corporate mumbo-jumbo that calls for safe harbor language and legal disclaimers that show how "responsible" and "transparent" their business intentions are, this press release is non-emotional and way too professional. It's too bad corporations can't include some of that verbage in their quarterly financial releases as a way to appear more human and humane while at the same time allowing everyone to cover their own ass. As for Woods, he owes no one anything, so it's probably best to leave things unsaid.

On the other end of the publicity stick, you have Sarah Henderson. She is at the center of attention because she reacted to an incident that recently occurred. As daughter of Fritz Henderson, GM's CEO who just stepped down from his top dog post at a troubled US auto maker, Sarah jumped into the ring before the bell had been rung. Some may call her behavior irrational and ridiculous (lots of f bombs, all caps) while some may say that she has the freedom to stand up for her dad, thanks to social media platforms that turn official banter into everyday conversations. Imagine having a conversation at work when all of a sudden folks start attacking your spouse in a very personal manner. Who, among us, would not feel great difficulty in restraining our own emotional responses? Especially under the guise of such intimate communication that which social media often offers. That's why we use it. It's personal. So when it becomes personal, we should not be surprised. Or should we?

Then somewhere on the spectrum of publicity, there is a dangerous off-shoot where the Salahi's reside. Oh, they are certainly not by themselves. They are in good company: Jon and Kate, Heidi and Spencer, Dog the Bounty Hunter, any Real Housewives, lots of aging reality characters from VH1 and other self-proclaimed superstar losers. It's an unattractive place to explain and even more difficult to understand, but suffice it to say that nothing is really all that painful, nothing is private and nothing is enjoyable all at the same time.

So that leaves the rest of us. Some of us write to stay connected. Some of us communicate as an emotional release. Some of us engage to get engaged while others are happy to shop around and enjoy the surf. All in all, you gotta take the good with the bad, the bad with the ugly and the endearing with the unbelievable.





Siren Songs of the Season

What is Google Wave?
Oh, I don't really know yet, but I've got a few invites to give away, so ya know...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.(Rather, let me know...and I'll send you an invite.)


It's a Silent Night still at the Woods household in Florida as the holy truth remains undisclosed to police investigators and reporters alike. Because the state of Florida has such a lax policy when it comes to sharing police records the media, Tiger and his family have refused to so much as speak with anyone in regard to what happened the night of Thanksgiving that left him injured and his car beat up and his wife swinging a couple of golf clubs. From a reputation management perspective, his ability to remain silent is probably the best policy at this point. And word on the street is that his sponsors agree. For now, at least. Hopefully he won't be singing Don Gardner's classic holiday tune when he finally does open his mouth.

Since when do "Clothes that would be costly to make and unlikely ever to be worn," translate into haute couture? Well, for Christian LaCroix, it may have been about twenty years ago, but not today. The French design house announced that it will close up shop soon, due to poor sales amid a sagging economy. Are you sure it wasn't poor design fashion that led to no sales, old chap? It's difficult to find pity for a man who told Time magazine in 1987, couture should be "fun, foolish, almost unwearable," then proceeded to make his fashion just that. Unwearable and unwanted. Now it will be Nothing.




More on the finer things in life....one fine thing that will never go out of style nor will ever be placed on the back burner...is alcohol. The harder, the better. Alcohol always makes it way to the top of the list when it comes to recession proof industries and for good reason. We are all human, after all. Among inconsistency we will seek comfort in consistency. And nothing is as consistent or comforting as a stiff straight bourbon whiskey on a cold winter's night. (That was so deep.)

Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough.” And I think that is a pretty Effen smart thing to say. Because even though my call is that rum (pa-pa-pum) is the drink of the season, vodka is still my personal favorite.



Monday, November 30, 2009

A Quick Look At the Headline News

Will Elin Nordegren suffer the same media backlash as Chris Brown if it's determined that Elin acted out in a rage of domestic abuse and attacked her famous husband with his livelihood? I'm, of course, talking about Tiger Woods and his latest headline news depicting a Thanksgiving affair that ended with more than one stuffed turkey and a huge mess in the kitchen.

Because Gloria Allred is no dummy. She didn't take on Rachel Uchitel for nothing. So we'll see. Unfortunately this will play out in the news until way past it's entertainment value.

In other news, Fox News is featuring a story about how potentially misleading and dangerous social media can be to a person's identity. For college students, job seekers, online shoppers & bankers and all the other people in the world who interact on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and more (that's everyone, right??) reports are detailing how much personal information bleeds from one source to the next. So Fox News is advocating a site you wouldn't normally associate with the conversative news source superpower. They are sending concerned users to a survey available on the ACLU that helps to gauge just how exposed one might be.

Speaking of manipulating social media for less than noble reasons, the White House party crashers are boring me to tears. Initially appearing as rogue reporters on a mission to break an unbreakable security breach, now these two overprivileged people appear pathetic and bored (Just read how this Forbes writer appropriately compared the Salahi couple to Heidi and Spencer.) Which doesn't say a whole lot about the events they attend...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Making the Jump - Random Hypothesis for a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Does anyone actually remember watching the episode of Happy Days when Fonzie jumped the shark?

In the world of public relations, that episode denotes a television generational understanding of an exact point in time when things have gone too far and never again will they be able to be the same again.


Similar pop culture instances are listed below:


1. When Michael Jackson admitted that he enjoyed sleeping with little boys. Sure, we had our suspicions. (Disclaimer: I refuse to link to anything related to this topic.) He adored monkeys. He liked to suck oxygen. He had a bit of a plastic surgery obsession. Maybe an eating disorder or a self confidence problem and most assuredly an abusive childhood. But the man was talented. So we were always able to look the other way. But when those horrible words came out of his mouth it became painfully obvious that some among us would never look at him quite the same again.


2. When Anna Nicole Smith married that dead old man. Really now. We knew she was a piece of work from the get-go, but when she skirted off to a church for 15 minutes of marriage only to be followed by a jet-setting tour of photo opportunities without new wheelchair-bound vapid old hubby at her side, there was no kidding. She elevated the idea of gold-digger to a new standard and she was shameless. No more defending the poor little abused girl from a broken home. She made her bed and now she had a dead man sleeping in it.


3. How about when the fast food restaurant Hardee's decided to serve fried chicken, roast beef, steak sandwiches, monster burgers and crescent rolls at the burger joint. Remember that? It went from Hardee's the Carl Jr's to Red Burrito or something like that, right? Taglines changed, branding changed and customers left and stores closed. The menu changed so dramatically so fast that people were left wondering what they specialized in?  And if you can't specialize in something then you are nothing, right? 



4. What about foot races? Standardized as an Olympic event in 1921 and added as a women's event in 1984, running marathons picked up mainstream popularity in the 70's. Nowadays we do marathons only weeks after giving birth (Katie Holmes) they are soooooo easy. Then triathalons gained general interest after the more elite running community aced a few. Today rock stars do them regularly and so do Desperate Housewives (Terri Hatcher) and cancer survivors (Lance Armstrong). Now there are mega sports (like the Western States Endurance Run) that include 50 and 100-plus miles at a time through rough terrain and suspect circumstances are showing up on our radar and when novice and avid runners alike think about writing down a New Year's goal, it should not be a surprise to see something more than a simple old 26.2 marathon on the list. Wah.





Trends to watch for upcoming "jumping the shark" potential:
1. Twitter - How far will Twitter go? Or perhaps...what will be the next Twitter?
2. Twilight - How much of this vampire thrill can we sit through before the writers & audience members a like are sucked dry and simply sick to death of anything Twi or lighted?
3. Uggs - Uuuggghhhh. Come on people. Some of these hideous boots look like giant animal claws on your dainty little girl feet. It's really no wonder why teenagers literally can't lift their feet off the ground and are forced to scurry and scruff. I say this season is the last season of glory for these old boys. (Think Crocs.)
4. Sustainability - I'm sad and sorry to say it, but the idea of buying carbon credits online only to erase the guilty conscious of those people who can afford glutenous behavior in the first place is not a good sign for the idea of demonstrating real sustainability in action. I'm not looking to see everyone fit a years worth of garbage in a coffee can, but there are some VERY broad definitions of what it means to endorse practices of real sustainability. We are slowly approaching a world where we empirically expect things to be green without fully understanding what "green" really may mean.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Matter of Potential

Corporate buzzwords are like religion. It's a good idea to be introduced to all of them in order to make the best decision on what you want to believe, endorse and practice.

I twittered today about corporate buzzwords. Ya know...that way of speaking that makes you sound less of a person and more of a Zoloft-induced droid wrapped in a JoS A. Banks buy-one-get-one-free suit.


There are always a few new interesting corporate buzzwords that pop up like warmed popcorn only to be left on the stove to burn into a solid mass of blackened tar that eventually leads you to throw away pan and all.


Here is a little read on the top ten corporate buzzwords. It's spot on, I should say! The author of this article shows little signs of actual contempt for the executive office, but refers on more than one occasion that it's probably okay to read the online story at your office as many of those at the office will not understand the humor or satire behind the choked and cloaked idea that everyone wants to sound like a suit.


For those of us who do not exist in the corporate un-reality or for those of you who do not breathe in and out this environment of quick retorts, trendy catchphrases and delegating down, it's still value-add to strategically align yourself with opportunities to fully engage in a paradigm shift of sorts and really leverage some competitive advantage synergies via 6 Sigma methodology and a firm grasp on the realities of reengineering for efficiency in all your business systems. We all have potential to be thought-leaders, after all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A-ols and Chocolate Cake

The holidays are coming. We all need to work out less, turn off the music, eat more and get grumpy. Crap! That was wrong. I'm teasing! We need to work out, play that funky music, eat cake, sleep more and be merry!


Here is a quick and simple workout for those among us who are far too addicted to social media.


Here are a pair of shoes I think I need for christmas. Here is what the corporate site has to say about them and all their technology glories. But more frustrating than that is the corporate video that states, "Make your boobs jealous of your butt..." [gasp, gasp!!!] Is this really corporate America? This piece makes me want to work for Reebok. Reebok is making a jump at crossing into lust for the love of a tennis shoe. Nicely done. These are sweet, sexy, feminine and powerful ads that seem to say, "Have it all, ladies. Then hit the fridge in your undies and finish the chocolate cake. You deserve it..."

In the opposite direction of rebranding efforts that may sink the ship, check out AOL. AOL to Aol. Tell the truth. Does anyone else automatically read the word, "A-hole" when they see the new logo? To me, I wonder why the little guys around the marketing table didn't question each other as they phonetically said the new line outloud. In a story linked above The New York Times quoted Sam Wilson, managing director at Wolff Olins New York; the firm designated at helping turn around AOL's sinking customer sales, as saying, “It’s not like there’s bad feeling toward AOL,"

Well, maybe not yet old Sammy boy, but then again, AOL hasn't called it's subscribers a bunch of assholes before. Ouch.




Those of us in the marketing field understand that older technology icons have a heavy burden to carry; to make sure they can compete with the younger, hipper, fresher crowd of talent. And we also know that more and more vehicles for acquiring a traditional paid service is being invented - and mass distributed - every day, so there are real problems for AOL to consider when making a plight to stay alive and kicking. But I don't think the answer is found in a newly-placed period or the uncapitalizing of a few letters in a simple logo.


I'm not suggesting it's a rather obvious onomatopoeia-played ad campaign, but for the love of pete, some things don't need to change just for the sake of changing. Madonna has stayed Madonna for like, 159 years now or something and she is still Madonna...





Thursday, November 19, 2009

Boobs in the News


The other day a friend sent me a link to a stupid video - from the site failblog.com - that documents instances of complete failure in our society.

After I watched the video, I was like, "Dude, really? I don't care. It's dumb."

And he was like, "Dude, you are the feminist. I thought you would care. It's f'ing hilarious."

So I watched it again and became a bit upset at when I noticed that today the video is featured on mainstream news.

Check it out here.

 The violence on the soccer field is a tad bit jarring, but so is the news coverage. It's a classic case of yet another example of "look how silly girls in the news are...ha ha ha...how cute..."  Some sites are calling this a sexy thriller. ESPN writes that the way these girls pull each others hair in this "funny video" makes the authors of the article want to party with them off the court.

Maybe these are just hardcore world-class athletes who got caught in the competive moment. No doubt they will get their red cards for unsportsmanlike behavior. Maybe Sarah Palin really is a runner. Maybe Marissa Mayer really can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan while donning trend-setting fashion. Maybe mammograms should be available to any woman concerned about losing her life, let alone her breast. Maybe it's always been and always will be a battle between caring for statistics and caring for an individual person.

I guess what I am trying to say is that this world is filled with stupid boobs. Let's try and keep our attention on things that matter.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Simple Choice to Run

For the love of pete people, who really cares about Sarah Palin's new book? The real book, not the big mistake CBC recently aired. Indeed, we are a bunch of tired, old, bored consumers hitting up the mall food court day in, day out.


I mean, really?





Who gives a rats ass? So Palin wore shorts and other running gear for a photo shoot for a running magazine. Is that really as scandelous as it gets? So what if she choose to bear a child with a disability. Why does that imply that she is a bad mom? So what if her daughter hooked up with a loser and had a baby out of wedlock? Does that mean she is somehow less of an upstanding citizen? So what if she likes fashion? So what if she likes to run? So what if she likes to speak her mind about healthcare, soccer, family issues and lipstick? So what if Star Jones said she should have been more responsible and worn long leggings instead of shorts for the running photo shoot? So what if her husband doesn't have a job? So what if she went on Oprah? So what if she decided to get the hell out of American politics? Who can blame her? Seems like it's a pretty awful place to spend your time and energy.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with her political stance in the slightest. I lean left while I was brought up right. That said, this transcends political views and comes down to something much more dangerous.

Lacking real evidence of deteriorating morals and illegal behavior, apparently we are a people that look to unearth secrets that will surely turn into stories of lust, deceit and injustice. Essentially, no matter the subject matter, we ache for people to fail. We want to see people in ruin.

She pays her taxes. She has a monogamous relationship with her spouse. She is involved with the upbringing of her family. She takes care of her body. She is educated. She is financially secure. These are things millions of women all over the world DIE trying to accomplish every day.

Next time you find yourself infatuated with the sartorial savvy or lack thereof of a president, a president's wife, or a potential presidential candidate, take your energies and hit the running trail yourself...with as much vitriol as we seem to have for things as petty as the length of a peddle-pusher, there should not be one woman in Congo without sponsorship for a better life if we so choose to support causes worth our attention. Simply put, we are lucky to have a choice. We should choose to outrun this nonsense.


Wednesday Word of the Day

Write. Write. Write. Even if it feels wrong, wrong, oh-so wrong. Wednesday.


(Can you say vacation? Better yet, can you go on a vacation and hire me as a traveling companion?) All joking aside, today is Wednesday and I'm bound and determined to focus on the written word.


Here are my favorites for the day:


1. Snarky
2. Repugnant
3. Nincompoop


With the exception of #3, none of my words appear on the most beautiful, silly or favorite British or English word lists owned by Jennifer Copley. Hhhhmpf.

Upon second inspection, all of my words are bad words. HEY. WAIT A MINUTE!
What's that supposed to mean? I may be in a bad mood. Or perhaps a bitter mood with undertones of bad-ass-ness. Or just simply depressed with my writing and reading and running. Aha. I maybe onto something. Will need to hunt for rejuvinators soon. Send ideas this way...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Picture This


The following photographs are real. There are, of course, real stories behind them.

But let's get real. This is what is really going on:


Obama is critiqued for his inadequate and almost insulting bow to the Japanese Emporer. In reality, he is realizing that the new shoes he just purchased oversees cost roughly two and a half times as much due to the sinking US dollar. "Shhhhiiiiiiiit," he is thinking to himself as he remembered a Macy's flyer with a 15% off coupon sitting at home on the kitchen counter of his White House.



This guy, an Italian inventor charged with changing the world to be a better place one religious informercial at a time, recently introduced the Aquasantiera Electtronica, a device that promises to deliver you unto His Holiness without the poor affliction of the pig flu. In reality, Luciano Marabese seems to be pointing to this pointless piece of garbage as the first in a long line of lies, trash and deceit. His smarmy little smile seems to say, "Seriously. Someone paid money for this! Ha!"



Sarah Palin recently told Oprah that she was praying for Levi Johnson, the son of Palin's grandson and the daddy to daughter Bristol Palin's baby; a comment in response to Levi's latest media blitz/pr stunt of posing for Playgirl. In truth, cameras caught Palin trying to decipher the real reason why Bristol and Levi decided to call it quits. "Poor little thing," she was overheard whispering as she squinted to get a better look at the untouched photos of Levi in all his glory, "His pee-pee is the size of my pinky toe."






Ged Galvin uses a remote control to use the bathroom after suffering a horrible motorcycle accident that left him with a colostomy bag. I shit you not. (Sorry...couldn't be helped.) He is a young handsome man with a couple of kids and his whole life in front of him. But take a look at the look on the face of this man. "Sweet Jesus. Are we done yet?" He seems to be saying through gritted teeth while at the same time coveting the chubby remote in his palms like a precious diamond or a new born baby. "I knew I shouldn't have had that second helping of frijoles at lunch!"

More on Music


Just like you would expect to see in a Simpson's episode featuring Spinal Tap, one of the greatest rock legends in the world recently greeted a large mass of followers by bellowing "Hello Ohio!"

Problem was that the followers were not in Ohio and either was Springsteen.

They were congregating for a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert at Auburn Hills Palace.

In Michigan.




According to the article, the Boss embarrasingly referred to the pack of Wolverines as mere Buckeyes on more than one occassion until guitarist Van Zandt whispered the faux pas into his bosses ear. Talk about calling out your own boss man in front of the man. In corporate America, you would likely be fired on the spot for somehow not making it look like it was your fault that your idiot boss was indeed such an idiot. Instead, a gallant Springsteen apologized and owned his small defeat. The real winners were, obviously, in the audience.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

King of the Throne Or Perhaps Just A Bunch of Crap For Today


It's Sunday. I'm exhausted. Today we are going to focus on the bare essentials.

This week the Art Institute of Chicago will open a new artist display by Monica Bonvicini, an Italian-born contemporary modernist. Her latest work is featured in the new wing of the museum, aptly named the Modern Wing. She is bold in her construction and manipulative in the way her art portrays complicated human struggles with minimalistic appeal and style.

But what do we already know about the creative mind of Bonvicini? The looking glass toilet, of course. The 'lou with a view', so to speak. The stark toilet on a once-quiet street in London that lets the occupants of the public crapper see the whole wide world around them but appears as a totally mirrored surface from the outside. This amazing toilet was built on the theory that people today fall into the fear of missing out to the point of missing it.

Call it omnipotence. Call it Panopticanonian thinking. Call it whatever you want, but don't pretend that you would A.) give a shit  or B.) not want to be all-knowing...no matter the environment of your authority.

We all want to be all-knowing. All the time. Right?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Navigating the Broken Streets of Sao Paulo


Running, writing, reading, sleeping and tentatively trying new food in another world, I have just enough time today to report a few things about my trip to Sao Paulo.

First, the fashion here is interesting. And so are the winding sidestreets, walkways and broken trails. Together, these two things leave me in a state of complete awe. Here is why: Brazillians are very sexualized beings by their very nature. Girls wear heels. Period. Boys are, for the most part, thin and tan with dark silky hair and darting eyes. So these girls and boys travel on foot or within the confines of the smallest of cars: Fiats, tiny Toyota's and even more miniscule Volkswagons. Motorcycles pivot and tip-toe through crowded paths of bumper-to-bumper traffic and never seem to spill. But no matter the vehicle or the route, the girls wear heels. High, high heels with tight, tight pants and even tighter tops. Therein lies a problem. The walkways are crowded and broken with steep steps and crushed mortar and zig-zagging tile that drops off when you least expect it. It's more common to see walkways in mid-repair with a variety of materials being substituted for whatever the bricklayer found in the back of his truck that morning than to see a finished space welcoming high heeled travelers. Nonetheless, the high heels pile out in the morning and stomp on in measured fashion way later than my curiosity allowed.

In other news, I ran the Ibirapuera park today. As in, the whole freaking park. Maybe twice...I'm not sure. I saw the Modern ARt Museum, the Japanese pavillon and the brave workers climbing to the tips of the trees to wrap up holiday lights in an etheral fashion all the way to the stars. Like many runners, I got caught up in the environment and the experience of getting to pound out a new run in a new place and before I know it, it happened. I got lost. Luckily, these high-heeled, broken-tile dodging beauties have nothing on a girl in a pair of well-loved running shoes. I caught up with every one I needed to bother for directions and that helpful guidance was what drove me back home....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Battle of the Fittest

Forgive me. I've been traveling. I haven't run for a few days. I feel a bit out of sorts.

But didn't I just blog about my love affair of Marissa Mayer? Now the whole world will adore her almost as much as they pretend to care about how fit and trim the President's wife's arms are. (They are quite fabulous.)

Maybe Michelle can strong-arm the Senate as the healthcare measure now faces a pretty tough battle for survival.

Friday, November 6, 2009

See Marissa Run

Here is what I don't get:

Marissa Mayer.

She runs things. Like Google. And marathons. And interviews. And press junkets. And parties. And more.


And she really likes to talk about herself. Alot.
She talks about her $300 highlights.
She talks about how creative, optimistic and logical she is here.
Preferring to be on stage where she can stay in the spotlight, she described Facebook as her most favorite non-Google service here.
She proclaimed that, "Good students are good at all things," even though she finished 7,074 out of 7,862 in a recent marathon in Portland.




She disputes WSJ's accusations of building a business model on digital disloyalty and takes offense to the idea that she unintentionally encourages promiscuity.
She was a featured keynote speaker at her alumni, Stanford, as she talks about "hitching her wagon to the correct star" and "reinventing chic."
She even has a Wikipedia page dedicated to how successful of a human being she is. 'Cause she is. 
Here, in a Vogue feature, she seemingly talks on and on about nearly everything about herself; her shopping habit, her addiction to Oscar de la Renta (she bought more than 20 cardigans at once) her Superman super man, her three homes, her lavish dinner parties, her wonderful this, her more wonderful that, everything...everything...everything. She seems to have it all.


So it's actually rather a surprise to hear a story about little Marissa getting "pissy" for a recent radio show incident. It seems that the radio show hosts wanted to talk more about Marissa than she was willing to engage. The article seems to indicate that you can talk about anything that Marissa wants to talk about, just don't ask her about anything she doesn't want to talk about. Geesh. This isn't Google, man. It's the real world. There is no such thing as metadata in real life.


So when the radio show hosts asked Marissa - who has made a name for herself by naming herself - if they can Google nude pictures of her, she was insulted. Not because she doesn't like to talk about herself. But because apparently there are no nude pictures to speak of. Not even on Google. And because she is a Google Top Dog, she was obviously hurt that no one has yet to sneak into her hotel room and catch a video that ends up boosting her career to places that even Google has yet to imagine.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Need For Something


I walked into the post office today. This is what I observed...




No line. At all. Not a single customer in the entire room. Two postal service workers conversing to my left behind the counter and one gentleman peering above the counter in the middle of the room. I quickened my gate approaching his station. Sliding a non-assuming smile across my face, as if to say, "Thanks for not walking away when you saw me coming," I am inches away from the chest-level desk when the man abruptly tells me to get a ticket.

I stop in my tracks and look around the empty room. Even the two fellow workers seem to quiet in anticipation of what may happen next.

He repeated himself, "Get a numbered ticket."

As in...grab a ticket from the ticket station in the front of the room near the entrance...even though no other being is in the room...even though it's clear that I am to be serviced next...even though it's likely the most ridiculous request I've gotten all day.

Except for the fact that, in fact, it isn't the most ridiculous request I've received all day. I've cleaned up after a sick puppy. A really, really sick poopy little puppy. I've been on the phone with insurance companies and doctor's offices and dentists and other medical providers asking me for codes and premiums and maximum out of pocket policies because I have recently moved and need a new medical support network. I've been educated on HMO, PPO, private, self and otherwise insured. I spent time with a governmental agency automated telephone service after the online service refused to acknowledge my data. I was on the recieving end of a most unfortuate business conference call. I spilled juice. I cleaned with bleach. I forgot to buy the eggs I went to the grocery store for. And much to my regular disappointment, I checked my retirement savings plan account balance just after I paid off my credit card and filled up with a tank of gas.

So, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

I'll take your ticket.