Monday, December 10, 2007

She Is Complete


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Suffering from Definition #2

1. a period of dry weather, esp. a long one that is injurious to crops.
2. an extended shortage: a drought of good writing.
3. Archaic. thirst.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Quick Poll!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Why I Prefer To Take The Train


Monday, June 25, 2007

The Carnage Continues

I haven't posted in a while. Aside from all that goes with moving to a new agency I've been spending my free time keeping the back porch clean. It's a battleground and the cats are still winning.

Here's the latest tally:

As Hannah would say... "That's a lot of dead mickey's Dad!"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Murder By Numbers 1, 2...66

How much do the cats love us for rescuing them from the shelter? We have been counting the ways:

For the record, from February 1, 2007 - May 22, 2007, we have received the following gifts:

55 dead mice
5 dead bunnies
5 dead birds, and
1 dead chipmunk (haven't come up with an Alvin drawing yet)

Hard to believe it from looking at him, but this guy is on of the killers:


Friday, May 18, 2007

The Hidden Link

Some days I wonder if spending a year driving a Wienermobile somehow caused permanent brain damage. Perhaps the lack of A/C during the summer months caused a few brain cells to boil. Maybe it was the lack of heat during the winter months that froze a few too. Maybe, just maybe it was listening to 27 versions of the wiener jingle over the PA at all those store calls.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of Hot Dog Red (the name of the paint color on the hot dog portion of the Wienermobile - though it looks more orange than red) out of the corner of my eye and think I see the dog. It usually happens when I'm driving. I've seen the color enough to know instantly if it really is the dog or if it's just something close in color. It usually happens when I'm not expecting it. Like it did today.

A few minutes ago I clicked on one of the links over there to the right as my jumping off point on a virtual trip through the web. What I like to do is to start with one of those blogs and then click on a link that that blogger recommends. I do this for a few blogs to see where it takes me. It's like a choose your own adventure book. You can always go back a blog and choose again if you do not like where you've ended up. Sometimes you can end up in the most unlikely places.

Here is the trail I followed today: I started by clicking on Interactive Architecture, which lead me to gravestmor.

Now, normally I would keep clicking on recommended links to get some distance between me and my own blog. I usually get about five or six links in before I start browsing around. Today, however, I started browsing right away at gravestmor. It only took me one post before I found myself clicking on the link it suggested to follow. That link took me to a post on Youtube where I found myself watching what a fellow reader of gravestmor described this way:

“I saw this a few weeks ago and thought it was one of the coolest all time animation presentations ever…

I mean, you’re taken on an emotional roller coaster…at first your like…jeez, who do these guys think they are, showing off their office like that…so pompous…and then you’re like…wtf…where did those bars come from…and then all of a sudden there’s an f@#$#@ing building growing, and the cameras all shaky and shit…and then boom….wireframe, and out of nowhere comes a frigging city where did that shit come from all of a sudden…and just when you think it can’t get any better…

THEY TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL…amazing…you’re in the building…you’re looking at it while driving down the street….you’re all over town…and when you think you can’t take anymore, it fades to black.and you’re like…thank god, i can’t take anymore…only to come back with a friggin 360 panorama…like…let me off…think i’m going to puke…feel bad for the people in the three cars behind me….i mean, what a RIDE!!!!

love it….love it.”

And what did I see in the video that caught my attention? I will tell you this... it wasn't Hot Dog Red, but the shape was unmistakable. Pay close attention and you'll see it.

Here is the clip:

I wonder how many other folks caught this? Kudos to the animators for injecting a little extra fun into their piece.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ellen, It's Almost Finished!

I have an unfinished painting that I started a few years ago. At this point I'm not sure if it was three or four years ago. I only know that we had already moved into the new house and we only had two kids at the time.

I showed it to my sister once when she was in town for a family reunion... wait, that might let me know how long ago it was... hang on... checking iPhoto for dates and times of the reunion... which was in July of '03. Dang. At least three years ago. At the time of the reunion I had been working on it for a few months already - at a minimum.

I have worked on it sporadically, most often late at night after everyone is asleep and I have had too much caffeine still in my system. And that may just explain the delay in completing it since I gave up caffeine for about a year or so in there. Silly.

So, while the idea for the painting came in a flash, the actual painting has taken a long time to complete. It's not that I didn't do other things in the interim. I did. In fact, I've completed several other paintings since I started this one. It's just been on the back burner for a while because painting this one makes my hand hurt after about twenty minutes or so working the canvas.

When I showed it to Ellen she indicated she liked the painting and said something like "hey, let me know when you finish this. I like it (hint hint)." Little did she know (which if you've seen Stranger Than Fiction you know is a set up to something big... something big that she did not know) that as of May 2007 that painting would still be sitting up on the easel in my studio. Unfinished.

This past week I got some creative juices going again and spent a few ours attacking the canvas making huge strides in getting closer to a completed work of art. It's so close now. So close. I just need a night or two of Mary not being on call, the girls going to bed right on time and the babe sleeping through the night, no last minute runs needed to the grocery store for milk, diapers or cat litter, shut off the email and cell phone and I can get 'er done.

I feel so confident that I can do that this week, that I'm going to post a sneak peak. I'm sharing this for two reasons. First, so that Ellen can see that I am making progress and second as a personal motivation for finishing it now that I've made a public statement about it.

So here's a bit of the painting:

And here's another bit:

I'll share more as I get closer to finishing it up. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Please Read This & Pass It On

Two days after learning of her son's suicide my sister-in-law put the following thoughts to paper. It was her wish that this be shared with as many people as possible.

John Kleine 3/5/1986 – 4/30/2007

Most people who knew John never knew that he had struggled with depression since his adolescence. Professionals told us that the hormonal imbalances of adolescence had probably triggered the chemical imbalances in his brain, and as he grew up it should get better. Fortunately, there have been great strides made in developing medications that can battle the depression with very few side effects. And so John had some very good years through the use of antidepressants.

John showed only his good side to the world. He loved to entertain people with his quick wit, impressions, and jokes. He loved to hang out with friends. And John especially loved sports. He played them, he watched them on TV, and he read about them in Sports Illustrated. He organized a CYO basketball team at Bishop Miege, and they played all four years. John worked really hard at playing high school football, and was extremely proud of being a starter his senior year. His varsity letter jacket still hangs in his closet.

But John also hated the idea of having a weakness that required the use of medication. And so after his freshman year at KU his doctor took him off the medication, and he did pretty well for a while. But ultimately, the depression returned, and his strong will was not enough to battle it. He refused to stay on medication, and in his despair he ended his life.

John is with God now, and is at peace. And we try to find some small comfort in knowing that. We will always miss him. It is our fervent prayer that the stigma that society attaches to mental illness will someday disappear, being replaced by compassion and understanding. Science and medicine will continue to study the workings of the brain, and will continue to develop new and better treatments. And when mental illness is considered to be a medical condition like any other disease, those who suffer from it will be able to receive treatment and help without shame.

We truly thank all of you for the overwhelming outpouring of love, prayers and support that we have received.
Bill & Maggie Kleine


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Thought of the Day

A parent cannot be invisible.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Breaking News From The Snack Cake Aisle

As the former Marketing Manager for Dolly Madison I am saddened by this shelf talker I spotted at Price Chopper. As a kid who grew up a fan of the Vanilla Zinger and learned later that it is not Vanilla or Chocolate, but the Raspberry Zinger which is purchased most often, I am saddened.

Another brand bites the dust. More thoughts on this to come.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Request

I didn't think I had anything to say about what happened this week at Virginia Tech. I was wrong. I really don't want to add to the din of reports and comments about what happened and why. Rather I'm writing this to make a request from everyone. Reporters, politicians, civilians. All of us.

I first heard about the incident while listening to Jim Rome while in the car. He, very carefully, relayed that there was a report of a shooting at the campus of Virginia Tech. He relayed the initial report that there were over twenty dead. It was clear that he was shaken by this information coming across the news wires and he very politely spoke for a few moments about how this report had rattled him and that he was not ready to do his job of being a sports commentator and radio show host. He took a break and went to commercial to gather himself. I did not get to hear the rest of his show as I had reached my destination, but I commend him on how he handled himself.

I heard a few more "breaking news" reports later on in the day. I purposefully did not seek out any information but heard about it nonetheless. It was all over the television. So I turned it off. It was all over the radio, so I turned it off too. It came via email. It came via rss feeds. So I turned them all off. I unplugged.


Because I know what the air feels like on a day like that. I know what silence sounds like on a day like that. I know because almost twenty years ago I was locked into my high school and ushered into the cafeteria as my classmates and I learned of a shooting at a neighboring elementary school.

I was there as people asked questions. I was there when people frantically called home to check in with loved ones. I was there when they said a woman walked into the elementary school, announced she was giving a lesson about hand guns and proceeded to shoot six kids. I was there when we learned she shot the brother of a classmate. I was there when we learned she killed herself in that classmates house. I was there when we learned she was an alum of our high school.

And though the high school was not supposed to let students go home without a ride as an effort to ensure everyone would get home safe, I walked home alone one and a half miles to my house. I have never experienced quiet like I did on that walk. No one was out. I did not see a single car driving down the street on the way home. No neighbors in the yard. No one. Just silence. And sunshine. It made an impression.

And I know what it was like when summer camp opened a month later and several classmates of the young boy who died in that elementary school classroom had to attempt a return to normalcy. And I was a new camp counselor.

I suppose unplugging was my way of giving the grieving families space. I did not need to hear this information before they did. I did not need to know where the shooter bought his guns prior to the next of kin being contacted. This was not my tragedy. Nor, I should say, was the event of nearly twenty years ago my tragedy. No one I knew was hurt or killed. I just happened to be there. I was not involved. As for the events of this week I know that in time all the information about what happened will come out. I can wait. Something I wish our media outlets would do as well. Alas, that has not been the case.

Instead we see Matt Lauer (whom I like on most days) reporting live from the campus the very next day. Within minutes there were numerous television and newspaper reporters on site interviewing students, faculty, paramedics, police officers, friends of the injured, friends of the deceased, people who were in the classroom next door, a custodian, the guy who owned the shop were the guns were bought and former classmates of the shooter. All this at a time when the interviewees were asking more questions than giving answers. And it all seems wrong to me.

Why must our national media organizations swarm around a tragedy, jockeying for the best position and interview? Why must they interview students the same day the event occured? Why, instead of conducting an interview with a student still in shock, don't they help them find a counselor to speak with first? And while the questions asked may be legitimate questions to ask (though not all were), and though many if not all of the reporters relayed well wishes and condolences and the conclusion of each report it just felt insincere.

I'm sure any one of those reporters who might read that would take issue and defend themselves as being most sincere, but come on. Isn't there anyone with a sense of what is needed here? Give them space. Make your self accessible, but do not pursue this. It is not worth the scoop.

I have no professional training in grief counseling. What I know is that I recieved advice on how I could help the kids at camp if and when needed. The advice I recieved then is my request now for the people closest to this tragic event.

Give them the time that they need to absorb what has happened. Give them time to grieve. Give them space. Be there for them. If they want to talk they will. When they ask questions, answer them. They have suffered through a traumatic event. They will all handle it differently and you need to watch out for their best interests. Not yours.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Message In A Bloggle

Once when our family was vacationing in Cape Cod I put a message in a bottle and tossed it in the Atlantic. It was a lark. Just for fun. Not littering, just the pre-pre-precursor to spam (sending a note to no one in particular and hoping against all hope that someone would find it, open it, read it and choose to respond). I remember thinking it would be so cool if someone found my bottle someday and wrote back as requested in the note. I was probably seven or eight at the time. And in Massachusetts. That would have made it wicked cool.

A few months later I receive a letter in the mail. Someone had found my bottle, opened it up and read my note. As requested they sent a letter to me letting me know where and when the bottle had been found. I remember getting the letter but not where the bottle was found. I have a foggy recollection that it was in the Carolina's somewhere.

Last June I posted a copy of a letter that I had saved from my Wienermobile days. It was left under the wiper blade while Jeanne and I were out eating dinner. You can read the letter here. It was left by a young girl named Lindsey.

I didn't really expect to get a response to the question in the title of the post. But yesterday Lindsey Mulligan posted a reply on this blog. She's alive and well, and by the looks of traffic reports to the site, she has lots of friends around the country who have now read the original post with her letter.

Lindsey's mom and Aunt have even posted replies. Her Aunt thinks she should get a ride in the Wienermobile, since her mom made her go to bed early all those years ago. Unfortunately I am not sure I can help with that request. I do not work for Oscar Mayer any more and I couldn't even get it to make an appearance at our wedding ten years ago. I'll send a note to the folks in Madison anyway making a plea for you to get that ride.

That would be wicked cool.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Saturday Morning Light Show

As the mid morning sun came through the beveled edge of the lead glass windows leading upstairs it cast a prism of color on the door to the hall closet. I ran to grab the camera and captured these images. I would have sat in front of the door to watch the light show all morning if we weren't running late for dance class.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

DIY Target TV Spot

We got a coupon book in the mail from Target this week. It had about 35 or so coupons in it. They used the back of the coupons to create a flip book. I showed it to the girls and they thought it was neat. So, taking it a step further, I scanned in the images, added some music and a few goofy iMovie FX and... voila! A TV spot for Target using the flip book images.

Okay... it's not the greatest, but seriously folks, this only took about an hour to do. Gotta cut me some slack.

What do you think? I see a whole lot more DIY tv spots coming down the road from fans of big brands like Target. And yes, we do shop there.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Bevare Ze Milky Pirate

Mary read the last post and said to me "Um, Dan? That was pretty deep. Should I be worried about you?"

The answer? No worries. Here's something she'd expect me to post. Enjoy.


Thursday, March 29, 2007


A mind wanders seeking purchase.

Eventually, taking pause, it admits to no one but itself that it cannot complete the task it has set for itself.

For the mind knows the paradox that exists in needing to take a journey into the unknown to reveal what is needed.

And yet it desperately chooses, again and again, to leap from the safety of past knowledge, fully exposed, into the unknowable emptiness of new experience to find that which it does not know.

And then, upon emerging different, changed and new the mind sets about again to wander. To seek purchase of that which was not there before; knowing all along that which is sought is cannot be found. It can only be created melding new with old to create new.

It is the only way to grow. To learn. To create. To be.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Bro!

Here's hoping this year delivers more high quality photos! Happy Birthday Kev.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Submit Your Own Caption

One of the girls put these two figures together on top of their Fischer Price Ocean Club playhouse. I wonder what conversation they imagined them having. Looks like a confrontation to me. What do you think they might be talking about or saying to each other?


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Le Grand Content

Just watch. You will enjoy.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Human. These Robots.

When I watch the clip I don't see a machine. I see something that looks like it is moving on its own... making decisions. Scary.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Quick Logo Design Project

Rod emailed me last Thursday asking if I could put together a logo for his son/my nephew/my godson's Chess Club. How could I refuse? The school mascot is a viking, though the club is not officially sponsored by the school - which allowed for a little creative freedom to play around with some viking related ideas.

Here's the logo I did over the weekend. Had to dig out an old copy of Illustrator and load it up on an old G4 tower in classic mode to use it. It was my first logo design since college. And yes, I used pencil and paper first. I may have a computer, but I never start a design/painting/illustration on the computer. I'm old school, baby. I think it turned out okay.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why Advertisers Still Don't Get It

It's time to remember that advertising needs brands more than the brands need advertising. A good product creates its own relationships

So says Marc Gobe, Chairman and CEO of Desgrippes Gobé New York, a brand design firm. He is the author of Emotional Branding and has just published his latest book, Brandjam. Barkley invited Mr. Gobe to speak a few years ago at the Creativity Symposium the agency holds each year. I still have my notes from his talk. A very sharp man.

Here's the Business Week article written by Mr. Gobe.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

Artists: (clockwise starting top left) Grace, Dan, Hannah and Mary. Maggie supervised.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another Think Coming

My previous post reminded me of this video which came out in November of 2004 by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson.

As Bob said "The times they are a-changin'".

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Web 2.0 My Gosh

What I love about working in the field of advertising and marketing is that I often come across some very cool information. Cool to me at least. Often the information is in the form of presentations. Some I find while doing my own research. Others come to me from friends or colleagues. Today my sister sent me this one.

I live approximately 123 miles from K-State. My sister lives approximately 629 miles away. She found this video before I did. That got me thinking - a dangerous pastime... I know.

When I was a kid I made one of those can and string contraptions to talk to my neighbor Charlie from my bedroom window to his bedroom window in the house next door. It worked, but barely. To get it to work the best you had to pull the cans and string tight. If it was loose it wouldn't work. We had to be directly connected to each other to talk. To exchange information. To say things like "pretty cool, huh?" and "definitely awesome!". We were kids of the seventies and having your own can and string phone was pretty dang cool. It was right up there with Stretch Armstrong; red, white and blue wristbands and hand pumped, water propelled space rockets.

The can and string phone allowed us to make a direct connection. I'm sure we were limited by how far away we could get before it wouldn't work, but we never tested it out. Distance didn't hinder our communications. Finding enough string and two old cans was all we needed. We wanted to find a way to communicate and we did the best with what we had available to us.

Flash forward to 1991 and me sitting in my dorm room at Syracuse University. I had a 2,400 baud Cardinal modem and subscription to this new service from a company called Prodigy. I can recall waiting for my brother Brian to call me back to let me know that he got my message via the Prodigy service that we both had. He could call me back faster than a reply message could travel through cyberspace. When I got him on the line he'd say something like "pretty cool, huh?" and I'd reply "definitely awesome!"

Flash forward again to this week when my sister sent me an email with a link to this presentation. She could connect with me just as fast, if not faster via an email message than she could via a quick phone call. A few keystrokes, control- v to paste the link and hit "send". That's it. What she was really doing was wanting to communicate with me. She found a way she felt was the best and made a connection.

And so in some round about way, thinking about tin cans and string, my 2,400 baud modem and watching this presentation got me thinking about distance as a factor in accessing information. It's not a factor any more. Actually, check that, maybe distance is a factor, but not in terms of feet, yards or miles. Distance in terms of number of connections from the original source is a factor. But not much. Information travels so quickly that we all can get the exact same information in a matter of milliseconds. That is, as long as someone decides that they have some information they want others to know about.

Pretty cool, huh? Definitely awesome.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Great Presentation

Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden presented this talk last year at the TED Conference in Monterrey, CA. I was not familiar with Hans Rosling prior to watching this video, but I can tell you that his presentation is one I will remember.

From time to time I have had opportunities to listen to some very talented presenters and though I was not in attendance for the original presentation I would add watching this video of Hans Rosling to that list.

He combines statistics and graphics in a way that tells a story unlike most presentations you have ever seen. He is fully engaged, excited and ready to tell a story to make a point. Several points actually. I will not reveal the topic, but will bet that you will find it fascinating nonetheless. Pay attention to his presentation style. He takes what some might call a dry topic and gives it depth and interest with bits of humor throughout to keep the audience engaged and eager to learn what he will say next.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Walmart Goof

I heard that Wal-Mart launched their new video site so I checked it out. This is what I saw:

Apparently the site does not work if you are using Firefox as your browser. Oops, I guess they forgot to think of that.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I was hoping to post about the Bears winning. Didn't happen. Congrats to the Colts. Now I've got to go put away the cheese dip.

Go Bears!!!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Lottery Laughs

I bought a Powerball lottery ticket. I don't do it often, but I thought "what the hey" and got one while I was at the grocery store yesterday.

I missed the live drawing on TV last night. I know they do it in the evening sometime and on ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC, but I have never paid that close attention. I figured I could check to see if I had a winning ticket by going online to check my numbers. And that's what I did today. Turns out I got the Powerball and one other number. Four bucks coming my way. Not bad for a two dollar investment.

While I was on checking out my winning numbers I came across this link to the FAQ section explaining how they calculate the odds of winning. Always curious to learn more I clicked the link and got a whole lot more than an education on odds of winning various prize amounts.

You might expect to have a FAQ section. Most heavily trafficked sites have a similar section. But what you likely would not expect find on is a statement in the FAQ section like this:

It takes two weeks to collect the cash from the stores around the nation. If you go to the lottery to claim your prize after that two weeks, then you can generally have the jackpot money (all cash or the first of the annual payments) hit your bank account the next day - maybe the following day if you come to the lottery office very late in the day. That said, you will have no trouble getting a little credit if you wish to buy something big before the two weeks time. Just mention my name - and that you are the Powerball winner.
This sarcastic wit continues throughout the FAQ section, but to really get the full dose you need to read the Real Letters. Here's a sample:
FROM STEWART N: What do you think about the number 19?

I like it. An odd mix of the smallest number and the largest - together in one package. It speaks to the extremes of the Universe and yet shows how they can be inexorably tied.

It is also unique in that both numbers are formed by a single constant line (using standard type). One line straight; the other curving before coming down to the base line - not so distant cousins - and neither one having a family relation with any other number. The "4" has mutliple stops and abrupt changes in directions with its multiple line formation and the "2", "3", "5", and "7" have their sudden starts and stops.

Although a mere number, as humans, we can't but help to tie it to other numbers by which we judge ourselves. As an age number it is greatly important; the first step from being a "teenager" to becoming a "young adult". In fact, the shapes of the numbers suggest a relationship between youth and age - the straight erect youth next to the bent and wizened old-timer standing together - as if sharing the secrets of life (though "1" will certainly not listen).

I would have to put "19" up there as a major number; a number among numbers. Yes, I definitely like "19".
And then there's this one:
FROM CAROLINA B: Hi, I understand that if you win, and you've bought a powerplay, then your winnings will be multiplied by the powerplay number. BUT, this is what I do not understand. Suppose that I buy a powerplay of 5, but the powerplay number for the week is only 2. Would I still get up to 2 x my normal winnings OR would my powerplay number have to match the powerplay number exactly to win the multiples. Please respond like you're talking to a little child, because in this instance, I need for you to place the info on the lower shelf so I will understand. Many thanks for your time.

Ok, here goes.

Imagine that you are walking through the woods on a nice bright sunny day. The birds are singing and you are chasing a flutterby (that’s really what they used to be called and I like it better than the new name – butterfly) and, all of sudden, you find yourself standing in front a dark cave.

The cave is as dark as your scary closet was when you were a child and you can see nothing at all – even though you squint really hard. You move a litle closer until you can feel the cool air coming the cave and you are suddenly filled with fear. You think that there is a dragon in the cave. Your fear takes over and you run home, as fast as you can, looking behind you every few steps to see if there is a dragon getting closer.

For years, you think about the dragon in the cave. Finally, as you get older and a little braver, you get up enough courage to go into the cave, and you find . . .


There is no dragon. Nothing. It was just an idea that you had somehow. No one else believed there was a dragon. No one else told you there was a dragon. You just thought it up and that thing you just thought up kept you from going into the forest. Sometimes, people think of things that stop them from going somewhere or even from understanding someting. They invent a brick wall that they cannot get by. To move forward or to understand, they must first forget what they "know".

Just like you worrying about picking the correct PowerPlay number. There is no dragon, there is no PowerPlay number that you need to pick. There is nothing to worry about.

You only buy the option and then your ticket says something like “PowerPlay Option: YES”. Just before the Powerball drawing, we draw the multiplier number. There is an equal chance to draw 2X, 3X, 4X, or 5X (and sometimes a 10X). You don’t have to match the PowerPlay number at all. You just multiply your prizes by whatever number we draw.

And everyone lived happily ever after.

I love it. If you ask a silly question, sometimes you deserve a silly answer. It certainly makes you feel better about losing a two dollar investment on a silly lottery ticket.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Da Bears Defense


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's Like A Google Mashup Gone Terribly, Terribly Wrong

Okay... this is wrong for so many reasons, but you have to check it out.

I can't believe I'm actually going to end up using "Celine Dion" and "AC/DC" as tags together. Wow.

Da Bears Prayer

My brother sent me this via email from a fellow Bears fan in Wisconsin... Yes Virginia, they really do exist (up there).

Our papa
Who art a BEAR
Hallowed be thy fame,
Thy championship come
Thy play be run
At home as it is away.
Give us this day our Sunday win,
And forgive us our turnovers,
Though we pounce on those who turnover against us.
And lead us not to fourth and long,
But deliver us from Krenzel.
As it was in ’85, so shall it be in ’07,
Reign without end, Da-Men!!!!!!!

Subliminal Advertising?

So, this guy was watching the Iron Chef and suddenly had a craving for McDonald's fries. Not really, but he did notice a red image on screen for a split second. Because he was recording the show he was able to rewind, slow it down and see the following:

What do you think? Was this intentional mind games at work or did someone in the control room accidentally hit the wrong button for a second?

I'm not sure myself, but nevertheless I'm craving those delicious fries.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oooh... Shiny Object On The Road!

I've often thought that business's, like people, can have psychological disorders.

I've worked with a number of organizations that if described as individuals could be said to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, are bipolar in their decision making processes, depressed, have any one of a number of phobias, exhibit self destructive or even schizophrenic behavior. There are company's out there that are sick. No doubt about it. Chances are good that you've worked at one.

So when I came across an commentary today on The HUB titled Customer Attention Deficit Disorder I was intrigued. A company with A.D.D.?

Here's a quick refresher on A.D.D from Wikipedia:
Attention-Deficit Disorder (sometimes referred to as A.D.D.) “is thought to be a neurological disorder, always present from childhood, which manifests itself with symptoms such as hyperactivity, forgetfulness, poor impulse control, and distractibility."
The author, Robert Forrester, references Interstate Bakeries as one of several company's that he claims suffers from A.D.D. I worked at IBC a few years back, so naturally I was interested to read what he had to say.

The quick version of the article is this: Companies that get distracted away from the core reasons they've been successful in the past, by new hurdles, attacks, whims or shiny objects will likely end up in trouble. They lose connection with their core customers. They jump from audience to audience trying to get a new group of customers on board with new products or new services that the existing customers have not requested. Instead Forrester suggests sticking to what works. Dance with the one that brung ya. Don't forget your core customer. Talk to them. Cater to them. Do not leave them behind.

Forrester further explains:
We're not picking on these companies (Ford, Walmart, IBC) in particular. They are just current, prominent examples of what happens when companies become remote from, stop listening to - and consequently lose - their connection to their customers. They develop customer A.D.D.
Would simply staying with what works in the past solve these problems? Is listening to your core customers going to solve all problems and keep these companies on the right, profitable path? I agree that these companies appear to have lost touch with their core. But only listening to the ones that know you now is not enough to keep a business as a going concern. We live in an ever changing, evolving world. Organizations operate in a world of naturally occurring and human influenced events. Laws change, relationships change, technology changes, natural disasters happen. Fads come and go, trends linger and sometimes change happens before anyone realizes it.

Merely listening to your core customers is not enough. In the words of Jim Morrison I'd suggest that companies "keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel". Yes, listen to your to your core customers, but also be aware of what is going on around you. These are not mutually exclusive needs. They must work together.

Forrester, to be fair, did allude to there being other issues with some of these companies, particularly IBC. He concedes that there were "other serious management failures" leading to the company's current bankruptcy status. It just seemed to me that he focused too much on the importance of talking to your core over everything else. He is right that it is important. But if you do that successfully, if you get them on the bus and make sure they get what they need on the bus, but fail to watch out for obstacles in the path of the bus or drastic changes to the road, you may drive that nice bus off a cliff... with all your customers aboard.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Something Witty Goes Here

It's Monday night. Today was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I should write more than that.

It's been a while since I've written a decent post and I'm sure some of you regulars have been wondering what's up. The simple answer could be that I've been busy. That's true, but sounds like a lame excuse. Truth is I have been busy, but distracted too. I've had lot's of post ideas running in my head, but haven't taken the time to write any of them down. There's some good ones in there too. Like the one where I compare really good marketing ideas to Swiss Army knifes, the difference between toe jam and toe cheese, why the big orange head joke is funny or the philosophical marketing approach I call "Moon Shot Marketing" - that ones a doozy. It's got references to Bob Dylan, NASA and Jello. I'm going to do that one once I figure out how to say it so it makes sense to more people than just me. I mean I like it, but still... I'm only an audience of one, right?

Then there are the stories from the girls. Christmas gave us a bunch of memories that I could share. And this past weekend little Maggie was baptized. No more heathen baby. Gram said her family always called little babies heathens before they were baptized. Da's family called them pagan's. Either way, the deal is done and we now have a new soldier right to fight the good battle.

I could write about Costco. Scott wrote about it recently and we had another cake this weekend at the party. Scott was incredibly helpful taking photos for us. I think he cranked out close to two hundred. Almost all of them are print worthy.

I could write about how it was eleven years ago today that I moved to Kansas City. Covering the story behind that one would take several posts.

And I could write about Jenne and what her words have meant to me. I've been reading her blog everyday to get updates on her chemo treatments. She has written some of the most compelling words I have read. Ever. Fearless, fearful, human, all of the above and more. If you want to know what it's like to read raw emotion, read her posts. They put mine to shame.

So, I've been reading other blogs, doing some family stuff and really just taking a mental winter break for a few weeks to recharge some batteries. Working out every other day has gotten the year off to a great start (though I've been doing that since before the new year) and I'm ready to get back to business here on the blog.

Stay tuned. More to come.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

They Can't Fire You If You Don't Work There Any More

Can they?

Okay, I just check traffic to the site after being away from the blog for a week or so (okay, longer, but I'll get back into it soon I promise) and apparently I've been getting tons of traffic to this post I wrote about Jon Stewart driving the Wienermobile through the Lincoln Tunnel. Seems Jon and Stephen Colbert made a vague reference to the original incident on the Daily Show show earlier in the week. Here's the clip with Stephen Colbert talking about his "dreams".

Silly. Just plain silly. And a bit funny too.