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 - 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 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 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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An Obvious Need For Balance

An Australian film captured a stroller run amuk only to have the baby escape with minor injuries and a memory for the mom that will surely outlive the international attention. Watch the video and see the exact moment mom slipped and the stroller rolled. Too bad she didn't have these on...the new New Balance 1064 New York Marathon running shoe. While the scene is one straight from a horror movie for anyone who adores and adorns heels, both mom and baby are okay.

And Chicago news is detailing a similarly haunting tale of a baby stroller getting stuck in a CTA train platform just this week. Rescued and hospitalized, the little toddler appears to have rocked to and fro and then slipped out of her stroller and into the graveled train line after the doors shut on the stroller and the train proceeded forward. Reports say that the 22-month old is fine, but investigations continue and allegations are a-plenty.

A passenger trying to steady himself as he enjoyed a pleasant afternoon flight with a pilot friend accidently ejected himself. That's right. The poor bastard grabbed the nearest gear shift as a knee-jerk reaction to some stomach-turning tricks and in turn got the biggest jerk of his little life. The man is obviously totally embarrassed, but totally okay.

Click here to be redirected to a fun little quiz that will help you determine if you, too, have a need for balance in your life. Ranking your ability to MOVE, REST, REPLENISH, this Microsoft (MSN) site sponsored by Tylenol promises to serve you up a personalized report and some tips for improvements; hopefully starting with a real life explanation of this crazy notion of balance...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

National Sandwich Day

Today (November 3, 2009) is National Sandwich Day. 

And while the author of the above mentioned article on National Sandwich Day proclaims that he would "walk a mile in the rain for a good pastrami sandwich," the truth is that we all eat sandwiches in order to give us energy to do whatever it is that we want to do. Walk. Run. Work. Live. Play. Whatever.

We live at a time and in a place where most of us are lucky enough to be able to choose more than a hamburger or fast food fries when we are out and about trying to get it all done all in a day's work. We have smoked turkey, veggie supreme, hummus wraps and teriyaki chicken to choose from; lots of healthy options to help fuel our fires.

And while Jimmy Johns was recently in the Chicago news for attempting to force a poor bastard to eat a tuna over a turkey tom, I still think JJ has some of the the best grub around town. For the love of pete, even Jessica Simpson knows the difference between tuna and turkey.

If you are a sandwich eater (and who is not among us?) make sure to check out and vote for your best sandwich. It's also a little bit fun to see what else is out there.

Speaking of something else out there...has anyone tried Jason's Deli or The Spicy Pickle?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More on Dreaming...

Runners have a joke that, "in my dreams, I am Kenyan."

In Meb Keflezighi's dreams, he is American. Wait...he is American. Since 1998, the Eritrea-born 34-year-old, has been a U.S. citizen. And has been on the run ever since.

This year (Nov. 1, 2009) he took home the crown of winner of the New York Marathon at 2 hours, 9 minutes and 15 seconds, leading a pack of more than 44,000 participants around the 26.2 mile course through the middle of America's best. 

Nice work Meb!

Bloom (part 3)

Step 3. Question thyself. Am I finished?

Bloom (part 2)

step 2. Draw up an outline.

Bloom (part 1)

step 1. Lay a foundation.