Monday, December 31, 2007

New URL for GottaGettaBLOG!

Please note that GottaGettaBLOG! posts from the years 2003 through 2007 will be permanently archived, here, at www.ggci.com/blog, under the heading of "GottaGettaBlog! 2003-2007". But, starting January 2008, blog posts will be posted at: www.ggci.com/blog2.

Furthermore, starting January 2010, new posts will be at:
http://www.ggci-blog.com/.

Please update your bookmarks and automated feeds accordingly.

Thanks!

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Chuck Norris is afraid of choking

The Chicago Tribune reported today that movie star Chuck Norris re-affirmed his intent not to run for public office ... for fear of "choking." Norris? Afraid? Choking? Well, sort of ...

In the tough-guy's own words:

"Let's say I run for a position in politics and I am debating my opponent and my opponent starts attacking my character and I leap over the bench and choke him unconscious, it's not going to help my campaign."

Ohhhh! Norris! Afraid! Choking! I get it now!

Isn't it interesting how a little context can so completely change the meaning of a message?

The underlying coaching questions, of course, are these:
How might YOU be misinterpreting others and how might THEY be misinterpreting you? And assuming it's happening, what do you want to actually DO about it?

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fun Family (Thanksgiving) Rituals

Fun Family Rituals - the notion is that each family does stuff that may seem insignificant to others, but is actually very special in how it helps define family values, camaraderie and cherished memories. The fun, sometimes silly, stuff that families do, look forward to doing, remember doing and continue to do - through the years.

In honor of this Thanksgiving Day, here are some of the family rituals and traditions included in my Fun Family Rituals compilation (available for download at: http://www.funfamilyrituals.com/) as written by the very people who use them to celebrate both today's holiday, and their families:

" On Thanksgiving, my kids make a Thankful Box and have everyone in the house "deposit" an index card telling what they're thankful for. Then, before dessert, we read them one at a time and laugh and cry and thank our lucky stars for our family and friends."

"We always make a turkey for Thanksgiving - even if we go to a relative's house. Gotta have our own leftovers!"

"After Thanksgiving dinner, all the moms of our extended family get together with handfuls of cash. We take whatever we were planning on spending on each of our 13 nieces and nephews for Christmas and neatly separate it all into envelopes - each marked with a child's name. When everyone is done putting their money in, the moms get their own kids' envelopes so that they can spend the money on gifts 'on behalf of' the aunts and uncles."

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Right Idea, Wrong Way

I, for one, think it's very cool that the Geico cavemen have their own television show. Not that I intend to ever watch it - and not that it'll be around for much longer, based on the horrible reviews it's gotten. But this is the first time that a TV show was created from an ad campaign, isn't it?! That's the part I'm impressed with.

And while I really like the idea, I think they implemented it the wrong way. If I was going to do this, anyway, I would've made it with a variety talk-show, with the other Geico character - the gecko - as host. talk show host

Think of it like the Late Late Show for animated television advertising characters. The gecko would start with a short monologue - a la Craig Ferguson - and then bring on a series of guests to interview and have hawk their latest work. And here's the best part - the show wouldn't even need any commercial breaks!

Think about it - wouldn't you like to hear a little more from the Aflac duck?Mucus Guy Or from his new sidekick the goat? How about Honda's Mr. Opportunity? The Pillsbury Dough boy? Maybe Erin, the Esurance save-the-world lady? And we can't forget the mucus guy' from Mucinex?! Mr. Tivo could even be invited in!

Who else?!

And to spice things up a bit, there could be a segment called "Mr. Peabody's Way-Back Machine" Mr. Peabody and Shermanwhere he and Sherman could interview advertisement characters long-since retired?! I mean who hasn't been wondering what Joe Camel's been up to lately?! Or the Frito Bandito for that matter?!

With the gecko as emcee, this variety show could really rock! Speaking of which, I bet if they really tried, they could probably get Gorillaz to be the show's house band!

Three-Two-One ... and ... we're live!

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Visual DNA Assessment


Some Friday Fun: Visual DNA assessment.

"What does your choice of images say about you," ask the folks at imagini.net? "See how you compare to over 4,000,000 other people from all over the world who've done this simple and fun test."

Take it yourself and see what you see. It only takes a few minutes and it's visually quite appealing. Just click on whichever picture best completes the sentence for you and follow the sequence through to the end.
----
Thanks to The Ladders for pointing this one out.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Friday Afternoon, Idealized

sleepy meeting
Courtesy of Bark Magazine, October 2007

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

And what will YOU be doing over the Labor Day weekend?!

messy desk



I

know

I've

got

my

plans!












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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Goals, Priorities, Procrastination, and Deadlines

According to Dictionary.com, the word goal was coined in 1275. (I actually thought it would have been penned earlier than that. You, too?) In contrast, the word procrastination didn't get formalized until the mid-to-late 1500's.

So it sure must've been a particularly productive 300 intervening years, don't you think?!

Or maybe, just maybe, they had the word procrastination all ready to go, but just kept putting it off, day after day, until someone finally put their foot down and made it a priority. (The word priority was formally recognized sometime between 1350-1400, placing it after the goal was established - and after it was probably due - but before anyone really got around to working it!)

So let's review:
  • Goals were established in the late 1200's.
  • Some 75 years later they were made into priorities.
  • About 150 years later people started to admit that, yes, maybe there was a bit of procrastination going on.
  • And 450 years after that, the boss got totally fed up and invented the word, deadline!!!
Perfect, no?!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He

Back in January, in a post titled, [W + (D-d)] x TQM x NA, or not, I cited the work of Cliff, Arnall, a professor in Wales who 'mathematically' determined that January 22, 2007 would be "the most depressing day of the year." Here's how the formula formula worked:
  • W: How bad the weather is at this time of year.
  • D: Amount of debt accumulated over the holidays minus how much is paid off.
  • T: The time since the holidays.
  • Q: Amount of time passed since New Year’s resolutions have gone south.
  • M: Our general motivation levels.
  • NA: The need to take action.
So that was the bad, or shall we say, depressing news.

And now for the good news, that is, the happiest news.

According to Arnall, today, June 22nd, is the happiest day of the year! Here's his formula for determine that:
    O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He

    • O: Being outdoors and outdoor activity.
    • N: Nature.
    • S: Social interaction.
    • Cpm: Childhood summers and positive memories.
    • T: Temperature.
    • He: Holidays and looking forward to time off.

    So be happy, everyone. Because if Professor Arnall is right, it's likely you can be anything else today!

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    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Hey, Your Shirt Just Texted Me!

    Okay, so I really get a kick out of this one - interactive t-shirts - or, as the folks at Reactee* say it, "shirts that text back"!

    Here's how it works:

    (1) someone sees my t-shirt - but it could just as easily be that someone sees your t-shirt - one that you go and create right after reading this post;

    (2) from their cell phone, they send a text message, to the t-shirt, by following the simple instructions on the t-shirt. With my t-shirt, they'd text the letters GGCI to phone number 41411;

    (3) the shirt automatically texts them back with an important (or not so important) message!

    Try it! (Standard text messaging charges apply.)

    Isn't this a hoot?! It is to me, anyway!

    Each t-shirt is fully-customizable (within the boundaries of good taste and available colors and sizes) and the message that gets texted back to people can be changed as often as you like. To create your own, just click on the link: http://reactee.com/114.html*.

    So what are you waiting for?!

    ------
    * This is my affiliate link. If you order via http://reactee.com/114.html, they will pay me a small commission (at no additional charge to you) as a thanks for helping to spread the word about their product.

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    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    Making an Indelible Impression

    Hey, sports fans! While this is likely to be one potent double play combination, Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance it's certainly not.In a move that's even more bizarre than the way the team's been playing this year, the Chicago Cubs organization has announced that their Sunday, June 17th game vs. the San Diego Padres will be "Sharpie Day", during which, they'll happily be handing out permanent markers to the first 10,000 fans entering Wrigley Field.

    Now call me crazy, but have they gong completely nuts?! The question isn't IF the ballpark will be trashed - it's HOW. Will it be:

    (a) by bored kids or drunk adults?
    (b) on the seats in front of them or the people next to them?
    (c) by frustrated Cubs fans or elated Padres fans?
    (d) by an errant Sox fan or two? or
    (e) ALL of the Above?

    It'd be one thing if they were passing out water paints or hand soap - at least they'd spruce up the place. But indelible permanent markers?! Oh, brother.

    In an excellently-timed related story, Mayor Daley announced that the parents of "youthful graffiti vandals" should be fined for the indiscretions of their children. Well, at least someone is looking out for the historical landmark called Wrigley Field.

    What could the Cubs marketing department possibly be thinking here?

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    Monday, June 04, 2007

    My Very Own Storm, "Barry"


    I've never had a storm named after me. And then came tropical storm "Barry."

    Certainly not the biggest storm on record. And not the most horrifc, either. To the contrary, actually:
    • According to the folks at AccuWeather, "Tropical Storm Barry will be remembered as one of the most beneficial tropical systems to affect the United States in recent years."

    • And according to Weather.com, "Barry's legacy will be welcomed rain in the South, where almost seven inches fell in West Palm Beach, Florida; eight inches fell in Mount Vernon, Georgia; over six inches fell in Hardeeville, South Carolina; and almost two and a half inches in New Bern, North Carolina."

    How nice. Good for me, I say!

    Okay, it was a bit Freudian that my storm chose Florida - were my mom lives! And now it's creating a bit of a mess in New Jersey, where my in-laws live! But hey, we storms do that sort of thing.

    The only bad thing - ever since Barry has been downgraded to a tropical depression, I've been feeling kind of sad! (Get it?! Depression? Sad? Clever, huh?!)

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    Sunday, May 13, 2007

    Happy Mother's Day!

    from Nan's garden

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    Sunday, April 08, 2007

    You Waskly Wabbit

    On behalf of Easter Bunnies everywhere, please do continue to believe in yourself - even when things don't go exactly as planned.

    ("I know that this defies the law of gravity, doc, but you see, I never studied law." - Bugs Bunny)

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    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Definitive 200 - Rock n Roll's Best

    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in conjunction with the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) have released the Definitive 200, that is what they consider the top "200 ranked albums of that every music lover should own."

    Don't let it bother you that NARM, the self-proclaimed "voice of music retailing", has everything to gain by us buying more music. Vested interests aside, the list is really too good to pass up:

    1. BEATLES SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND - 1967 *
    2. PINK FLOYD DARK SIDE OF THE MOON - 1973 *
    3. MICHAEL JACKSON THRILLER - 1982 *
    4. LED ZEPPELIN LED ZEPPELIN IV - 1971 *
    5. U2JOSHUA TREE - 1987 *
    6. ROLLING STONES EXILE ON MAIN STREET - 1972
    7. CAROLE KING TAPESTRY - 1971 *
    8. BOB DYLAN HIGHWAY '61 REVISITED - 1965 *x
    9. BEACH BOYS PET SOUNDS - 1966
    10. NIRVANA NEVERMIND - 1991 *
    11. PEARL JAM TEN - 1991
    12. BEATLES ABBEY ROAD - 1969 *@
    13. SANTANA SUPERNATURAL - 1999 *
    14. METALLICA METALLICA - 1991
    15. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN BORN TO RUN - 1975 *
    16. PRINCE PURPLE RAIN - 1984 *
    17. AC/DC BACK IN BLACK - 1980
    18. ROLLING STONES LET IT BLEED - 1969
    19. DOORS DOORS - 1967 *
    20. GRATEFUL DEAD AMERICAN BEAUTY - 1970 *#
    21. SHANIA TWAIN COME ON OVER - 1997
    22. WHO WHO'S NEXT - 1971 *
    23. STEVIE WONDER SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE - 1976 *
    24. FLEETWOOD MAC RUMOURS - 1977 *
    25. PINK FLOYD WALL - 1979 *
    26. ALANIS MORISSETTE JAGGED LITTLE PILL - 1995 *
    27. NORAH JONES COME AWAY WITH ME - 2002
    28. EMINEM MARSHALL MATHERS LP - 2000 *
    29. OUTKAST SPEAKERBOXX-LOVE BELOW - 2003
    30. DR. DRE CHRONIC - 1992
    31. BEASTIE BOYS LICENSED TO ILL - 1986
    32. GUNS 'N ROSES APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION - 1987
    33. DIXIE CHICKS WIDE OPEN SPACES - 1998
    34. MILES DAVIS KIND OF BLUE - 1959 *x
    35. EAGLES HOTEL CALIFORNIA - 1976 *
    36. DEF LEPPARD HYSTERIA - 1987
    37. SOUNDTRACK GREASE - 1980 *
    38. MARVIN GAYE WHAT'S GOING ON - 1978 *
    39. BEATLES WHITE ALBUM - 1968 *
    40. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER - 1977
    41. JIMI HENDRIX ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? - 1967 *
    42. BEATLES REVOLVER - 1966 *
    43. BOSTON BOSTON - 1976 *#
    44. BON JOVI SLIPPERY WHEN WET - 1986
    45. U2 ACHTUNG BABY - 1991
    46. WHITNEY HOUSTON WHITNEY HOUSTON - 1985
    47. LED ZEPPELIN LED ZEPPELIN II - 1969 *
    48. DAVE MATTHEWS BAND CRASH - 1996 *x
    49. ROLLING STONES STICKY FINGERS - 1971
    50. GREEN DAY DOOKIE - 1994 *
    51. LED ZEPPELIN HOUSES OF THE HOLY - 1973
    52. JONI MITCHELL BLUE - 1971*
    53. ELVIS PRESLEY ELVIS AT SUN - 2004
    54. AEROSMITH TOYS IN THE ATTIC - 1975 *
    55. LAURYN HILL MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL - 1998
    56. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN BORN IN THE U.S.A. - 1984 *
    57. 50 CENT GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN' - 2003
    58. AC/DC HIGHWAY TO HELL - 1979
    59. NOTORIOUS B.I.G. LIFE AFTER DEATH - 1997
    60. VAN HALEN VAN HALEN - 1978
    61. GREEN DAY AMERICAN IDIOT - 2004 *
    62. BLACK SABBATH PARANOID - 1971
    63. EMINEM EMINEM SHOW - 2000
    64. JEWEL PIECES OF YOU - 1995
    65. COLDPLAY RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD - 2002 *x
    66. MEATLOAF BAT OUT OF HELL - 1977
    67. USHER CONFESSIONS - 2004
    68. KID ROCK DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE - 1998
    69. GEORGE HARRISON ALL THINGS MUST PASS - 1970 *
    70. BILLY JOEL STRANGER - 1977 *
    71. EAGLES HELL FREEZES OVER - 1994
    72. VAN MORRISON MOONDANCE - 1970 *
    73. REM AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE - 1992 *x
    74. PHIL COLLINS NO JACKET REQUIRED - 1985
    75. METALLICA MASTER OF PUPPETS - 1986
    76. FAITH HILL BREATHE - 1999
    77. JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON - 1968 *
    78. JOHN COLTRANE LOVE SUPREME - 1964
    79. PINK FLOYD WISH YOU WERE HERE - 1975 *x
    80. MICHAEL JACKSON OFF THE WALL - 1979
    81. MARVIN GAYE LET'S GET IT ON - 1973
    82. BOB SEGER NIGHT MOVES - 1976 *
    83. PAUL SIMON GRACELAND - 1986 *
    84. LINKIN PARK HYBRID THEORY - 2000
    85. PRINCE 1999 - 1983
    86. DEF LEPPARD PYROMANIA - 1983
    87. JANET JACKSON CONTROL - 1986
    88. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAGIK - 1991
    89. DIRE STRAITS BROTHERS IN ARMS - 1985 *
    90. TUPAC ALL EYEZ ON ME - 1996
    91. MATCHBOX TWENTY YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU - 1996 *#
    92. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CALIFORNICATION - 1999
    93. LED ZEPPELIN PHYSICAL GRAFFITI - 1975
    94. NELLY COUNTRY GRAMMAR - 2000
    95. CREED HUMAN CLAY - 1999
    96. CLASH LONDON CALLING - 1979
    97. CELINE DION FALLING INTO YOU - 1996
    98. NEIL YOUNG HARVEST - 1972 *
    99. SOUNDTRACK DIRTY DANCING - 1987
    100. DIXIE CHICKS HOME - 2002
    101. TOM PETTY FULL MOON FEVER - 1989 *
    102. VAN HALEN 1984 - 1984
    103. SOUNDTRACK TITANIC - 1997
    104. CROSBY STILLS & NASH DEJA VU - 1970 *
    105. TLC CRAZYSEXYCOOL - 1999
    106. BECK ODELAY - 1994 *x
    107. KENNY G BREATHLESS - 1992
    108. NWA. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON - 1989
    109. SEX PISTOLS NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS - 1977 *
    110. BEATLES RUBBER SOUL - 1965 *
    111. RADIOHEAD O.K. COMPUTER - 1997 *x
    112. SIMON & GARFUNKEL BRIDGE OVER TROUBLE WATER - 1970 *
    113. DIXIE CHICKS FLY - 1999
    114. METALLICA AND JUSTICE FOR ALL - 1988
    115. MICHAEL JACKSON DANGEROUS - 1991
    116. MARIAH CAREY DAYDREAM - 1995
    117. SOUNDTRACK TOP GUN - 1999
    118. ELTON JOHN GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD - 1973 *
    119. POLICE SYNCHRONICITY - 1983 *#
    120. NO DOUBT TRAGIC KINGDOM - 1995
    121. ROLLING STONES BEGGAR'S BANQUET - 1968
    122. R KELLY R - 1998
    123. TOOL LATERALUS - 2001
    124. OASIS WHAT'S THE STORY MORNING GLORY - 1995 *
    125. BOB MARLEY EXODUS - 1977 *
    126. JOURNEY ESCAPE - 1981 *
    127. CHRISTINA AGUILERA CHRISTINA AGUILERA - 1999
    128. JAY-Z BLUEPRINT - 2001
    129. ALICIA KEYS DIARY OF ALICIA KEYS - 2003
    130. SOUNDTRACK O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? - 2000
    131. CARS CARS - 1978 *
    132. ENYA DAY WITHOUT RAIN - 2000
    133. NATALIE COLE UNFORGETTABLE WITH LOVE NATALIE COLE - 1991
    134. SOUNDTRACK FOOTLOOSE - 1984
    135. LIONEL RICHIE CAN'T SLOW DOWN - 1983
    136. SARAH MCLACHLAN SURFACING - 1997 *
    137. BONNIE RAITT NICK OF TIME - 1989 *
    138. METALLICA RIDE THE LIGHTNING - 1984
    139. SHERYL CROW TUESDAY NIGHT MUSIC CLUB - 1993 *
    140. FRANK SINATRA IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS - 1954
    141. EARTH WIND FIRE GRATITUDE - 1975
    142. ZZ TOP ELIMINATOR - 1983
    143. WILLIE NELSON RED HEADED STRANGER - 1975
    144. JOHN LENNON IMAGINE - 1971 *
    145. TONI BRAXTON TONI BRAXTON - 1993
    146. ETTA JAMES AT LAST - 1961
    147. ELVIS PRESLEY ELVIS PRESLEY - 1956
    148. CAT STEVENS TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN - 1970 *
    149. SMASHING PUMPKINS MELLON COLLIE & THE INFINITE SADNESS - 1995 *
    150. DAVE BRUBECK TIME OUT - 1959
    151. JANET JACKSON JANET - 1993
    152. QUEEN A NIGHT AT THE OPERA - 1975 *
    153. OZZY OSBOURNE BLIZZARD OF OZZ - 1980
    154. WILL SMITH BIG WILLIE STYLE - 1997
    155. PRINCE SIGN OF THE TIMES - 1987
    156. PUBLIC ENEMY IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK - 1988
    157. BOB DYLAN BLOOD ON THE TRACKS - 1975
    158. GEORGE MICHAEL FAITH - 1987
    159. BOYZ II MEN COOLEYHIGHHARMONY - 1993
    160. DESTINY'S CHILD WRITING'S ON THE WALL - 1999
    161. JAY-Z BLACK ALBUM - 2003
    162. AVRIL LAVIGNE LET GO - 2002 *
    163. FUGEES SCORE - 1996
    164. MADONNA LIKE A VIRGIN - 1984
    165. LED ZEPPELIN LED ZEPPELIN - 1969 *
    166. STEVIE RAY VAUGHN TEXAS FLOOD - 1983
    167. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS CORE - 1992
    168. ORIGINAL CAST PHANTOM OF THE OPERA HIGHLIGHTS - 1988 *
    169. JETHRO TULL AQUALUNG - 1971 *
    170. TUPAC ME AGAINST THE WORLD - 1995
    171. DAVID BOWIE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST - 1972 *
    172. SHAKIRA LAUNDRY SERVICE - 2002
    173. SOUNDTRACK FORREST GUMP - 2001
    174. AL GREEN CALL ME - 1973
    175. CURTIS MAYFIELD SUPERFLY - 1997
    176. LIVE THROWING COPPER - 1994
    177. GEORGE BENSON BREEZIN' - 1976 *
    178. WHITE STRIPES WHITE BLOOD CELLS - 2001
    179. LYNYRD SKYNYRD PRONOUNCED LEH-NERD SKIN-ERD - 1973 *
    180. SADE DIAMOND LIFE - 1984 *
    181. FLEETWOOD MAC FLEETWOOD MAC - 1975 *
    182. PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS BAND ON THE RUN - 1973 *
    183. BEYONCE DANGEROUSLY IN LOVE - 2003
    184. ANITA BAKER RAPTURE - 1986
    185. NAS IIIMATIC - 1994
    186. BARBRA STREISAND A STAR IS BORN - 1976
    187. EARTH WIND FIRE THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD - 1975
    188. ANITA BAKER RHYTHM OF LOVE - 1994
    189. JAY-Z IN MY LIFETIME VOL 1 - 1997
    190. LL COOL J MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT - 1990
    191. STEELY DAN AJA - 1977 *x
    192. WILLIE NELSON STARDUST - 1978
    193. ARETHA FRANKLIN SPARKLE - 1976
    194. ANDREA BOCELLI ANDREA - 2004 *
    195. BOB DYLAN BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME - 1965
    196. LUTHER VANDROSS NEVER TOO MUCH - 1981
    197. U2 ALL THAT YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND - 2000
    198. RUSH 2112 - 1976
    199. OUTKAST AQUEMINI - 1998
    200. GRAND FUNK RAILROAD WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND - 1973 *
    Fun list, yes?!

    ----
    * currently in my collection - or was, at one point
    @ the first vinyl album, cassette, and CD I purchased
    # currently in my car!
    x currently on my nightstand

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    Sunday, February 18, 2007

    Happy 4704, Good Fu to You

    Fu, meaning luck
    Sunday, February 18, 2007, marks the start of the Chinese New Year, DingHai, the Year of the Pig, Year4704 by the Chinese calendar.

    Here's hoping it brings much Fu, that is Luck, to you.

    And if you had some 2007 New Year's Resolutions you have lost track of, today might be a great day to pick them up again!

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    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    "Pitchers and Catchers Report Today"

    And with those five words, all feels right in the world again.










    Go Cubs Go!

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    Friday, February 02, 2007

    I've Been Tagged

    I've been "tagged" by Jonathan Kantor over at the White Paper Pundit blog. The way this works is that it's now my turn to list five things that most people probably don't know about me ... and then tag five other people to continue the chain.
    1. As a kid, I had a vibrant shoeshine business where I charged by the shoe - and some people actually had me do only one at a time!
    2. I'm a fairly accomplished egg roll maker - Uncle Irwin taught me how to use a wok as we 'sailed' the Long Island Sound on his Chinese Junk.
    3. Because so many things in life happen alphabetically, I used to think my full name was actually "and, Barry Zweibel."
    4. My guitar (yes, I still play ... a bit) is one of the first Ovation Balladeers ever produced (model 1111) - I bought it new, way back when I was in high school.
    5. I'm allergic to bees and wasps, mosquitoes - and autumn.

    So that's about me. And now, here are the five bloggers I tag to go next:

    1. Megan Potter at http://www.flamingrenaissance.com/
    2. Jim Carlini at http://www.carliniscomments.com/
    3. Kerch McConlogue at www.mapthefuture.com/blog
    4. Sylva Leduc at http://www.syl.typepad.com/
    5. Penelope Trunk at blog.penelopetrunk.com

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    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    [W + (D-d)] x TQM x NA, or not

    This in from client, Mary:

    Apparently, yesterday (January 22, 2007) was the most depressing day of the year. This is not based on superstition but a formula, by a professor (Cliff Arnall) in Wales. This professor’s so-called formula looks like this: [W + (D-d)] x TQM x NA:

    W: How bad the weather is at this time of year.
    D: Amount of debt accumulated over the holidays minus how much is paid off.
    T: The time since the holidays.
    Q: Amount of time passed since New Year’s resolutions have gone south.
    M: Our general motivation levels.
    NA: The need to take action.

    Thanks, Mary. And two quick addenda from me about this :

    Thing One: I'm glad it's no longer yesterday - it actually was kind of a lousy day, now that I think about it.

    Thing Two: It seems that Dr. Arnall also has a formula for predicting the happiest day of the year: O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He:

    O: Being outdoors and outdoor activity.
    N: Nature.
    S: Social interaction.
    Cpm: Childhood summers and positive memories.
    T: Temperature.
    He: Holidays and looking forward to time off.

    This year, it will be on Friday, June 22nd so you may want to note that on your calendar so you can remember to make it so!

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    Monday, January 15, 2007

    Look Ma, No Hands!

    You've seen the Lexus commercials where the car parks itself - as in literally? Well here's something even cooler: cars that drive themselves!

    According to monstersandcritics.com, "DaimlerChrysler says it has conducted successful field testing of a car to car communication system with vehicles warning each other of a dangerous situation or obstacle on the road."

    Forbes Magazine has also reported (Car Talk, January 29, 2007, page 52) several intriguing possibilities, including these:
    • if you approach a car to quickly, your car will automatically brake
    • if a car is in your blind spot, an indicator will light on your dashboard or mirror, and your seat will start to vibrate if you turn on your blinker anyway
    • if your car breaks down, it will 'notify' other cars fast-approaching whether or not they are in line-sight of you

    And with your car's on-board technology and wireless capabilities:

    • the local gas station could send movies to your car's DVD player as you fill-up
    • you could synchronize your car's music system with your home computer ... or your buddy's ... while driving
    • local weather forcasters could really know the weather by monitoring the number of cars with their windshield wipers on high

    "The catch," says Forbes, "is that the authorities would also know if a driver were doing 90mph - the car would be broadcasting that information" and raises the intriguing question: "Can a police department get sued for not stopping a speeding driver it knew about who later killed someone?"

    Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seat belts - it seems we're in for a very interesting ride!

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    Friday, January 12, 2007

    On Jelly Beans and Pumpkin Seeds

    According to neuroscientist Allan Snyder, and as reported in Discover Magazine, 'jelly-bean counting' skills in normal people can be significantly improved with transcrainial magnetic stimulation - powerful magnetic pulses to the brain.

    For an hour after the treatment, 83.3% of test subjects were "twice as accurate" in estimating the number of dots flashed on a computer screen.

    I once won a 92-pound pumpkin by accurately guessing its weight. (I guessed 93.) I could have used some transcrainial magnetic stimulation to help me guess how many pumpkin seeds it contained!

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    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    A little (visual) help?


    According to an article in this month's New Scientist magazine:

    "Basketball vests (singlets) with electroluminescent displays that show a player's score, and number of fouls, are being trialed in Australia. The vests can also display more general information, like the amount of time left in a game."

    The product is called "TeamAwear," short for "team sports awareness wearable display" and call me crazy, but I think this is a really cool idea - just not for basketball jerseys.

    If it were up to me, I think I'd start a line of boss' work-clothes. Consider these "WorkAwear" possibilities:

    • Wouldn't it be helpful to be able to 'see' what's on the boss' mind? With a "WorkAwear" business suit, you now could!
    • Wouldn't it be something if your staff could know your priorities before you even said them aloud? With a "WorkAwear" sweater, they could!
    • Need some extra funding for a non-budgeted project? You could barter with your vendor for some free ad-space on your "WorkAwear" blazer!

    Yes, this could be very good!

    And to riff a bit more, "WorkAwear 2.0" will be able to display more than just text. But be careful if you're one to wear your heart on your sleeve, or are particularly thin-skinned.

    Talk about things taking on a whole new meaning!

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    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Procrastination Pays!

    Okay, so I've been meaning to write an e-book on the hidden value of procrastination ... but I just haven't got around to doing it yet! (ba-DUM-bum!) I do have an example of the notion, though, that I thought worthy of sharing with you.

    My wife got me a new travel suitcase, isn't that nice?! Problem, though - it had a tear on the inside. Well so many days later (procrastination point one) I took it back to the store for a replacement. Since the model was now out-of-stock, I started looking at the other models available. I don't mind saying that I was amazed by - and a bit overwhelmed with - the number of choices they offered.

    I looked at each and every one of them (procrastination point two) - thanks again, Marion (the sales lady) for being so patient with me. Ultimately, I decided not to buy any of them because the one I liked best was a bit too expensive (procrastination point three). So I went home suitcase-less.

    The mailman arrived just as I was pulling into the driveway. And wouldn't you know it, in the day's mail was a 20% off coupon from the very store in question. So back I went to the store (procrastination no more) and got the exact suitcase I wanted at the exact price I was willing to pay!

    So who says that procrastination doesn't pay?!

    Have a story about how procrastination has paid dividends for you? Feel free to share.

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    Monday, November 27, 2006

    Upon Further Review

    They not only wished they did it better the first time; they actually admitted they got it wrong in the first place! So said 13different newspaper critics in Upon Further Review: Critics change their minds, a feature article in this weekend's Sunday Chicago Tribune Arts section. And how wonderfully refreshing is that?!

    Take a look at who had the nerve (and moxie) to admit the err of their ways:
    • Music Critic, Scott L. Powers
    • Rock Critic, Greg Kot
    • Movie Critic, Michael Phillips
    • Movie Critic, Michael Wilmington
    • Music Critic, Howard Reich
    • Classical Music Critic, John von Rhein
    • Theatre Critic, Chris Jones
    • Television Critic, Maureen Ryan
    • Arts Critic, Sid Smith
    • Art Critic, Alan Artner
    • Architecture Critic, Blair Kamin
    • Restaurant Critic, Phil Vettel

    These are big names in Chicago critic circles. Yet each person was man or woman enough to do what they called a 'critical reversal.'

    Admitting you goofed when you really have is not a sign of weakness, as many would have you believe. It's a sign of objectivity, of maturity, of excellence. Yes, that's right, copping to your mistakes is a sign of excellence, because it's often not the mistake - it's what you do immediately after, or as a result of, the mistake - that matters more.

    If you learn from it - and demonstrate that learning - then chances are good the error won't be held against you. In fact, you might even be commended for your honesty and integrity.

    But if you try and pretend it never happened - or continue to make the same mistake over and over again - then chances are good that this particular example is just one more brick in an ever-growing wall separating you from lasting success.

    Here's an exercise to clean the slate: List out a number of mistakes you know you've made this year and what you learned from each of them. Then go apply your learning in as meaningful a way as possible.

    You'll feel better and the world will be a better place.

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    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Debating the Nonfiction-ness of Fables

    I went to Borders Books last night to pick up a book for a client. While there, I decided to look around and found myself wandering over to their Bestsellers rack. There were two sets of shelves - one for the current bestsellers in fiction and one for current bestsellers in nonfiction.

    Made sense ... until I saw one of my all-time favorite books - The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo, a story about an Andalusian shepherd boy who learns about life, and himself, by learning how to listen to his heart. It was weird. Weird for multiple reasons, actually:

    Weird Reason Number 1 - That a book first published (in English) back in 1993 was on any current bestsellers list - although it had been re-released as a trade paperback back in April of 2006.

    Weird Reason Number 2 - That it was currently ranked Number 2 in the NON-fiction category - especially given the book's subtitle, "A Fable about Following Your Dream."

    Now I wanted to be sure, so I walked over to the bookstore's Reference section and pulled out a copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Lo and behold, the word fable is defined as "a fictitious narrative."

    Salesperson: May I help you?

    Me: Why yes, you can. Did you know that your Number 2 best-selling nonfiction book is actually fiction?

    Salesperson: No it's not.

    Me: But it's a fable and fables are, by definition, works of fiction.

    Salesperson: Well the book is normally shelved in the Metaphyiscal section, which makes it NON-fiction. So calling it a work of fiction is debatable.

    Me: Apparently so.

    Apparently so.

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    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Be Here Now

    Finally, there's a difinitive answer to the the band Chicago's 1970's musical question: "Does anybody really know what time it is?" And it comes in the form of a novelty watch that's absolutely pefect for anyone who wants to stop spending so much time worrying about the future - and/or regretting the past ...

    Available through the Signals catalog.

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    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Friday Fun: Berated at Starbucks

    So, okay, I'm not particularly proud of this, but I have about a half-dozen Starbucks within a short driving distance from me. And, to keep the coffee fresh, so to speak, I rotate which locations I go to.

    Well this morning, I circled back to one that I haven't been to in a while and the lady behind the counter - Lisa, I think her name is - looks me right in the eye and asks, "Where have YOU been?"

    Me? I've been going to the Plaza del Prado Starbucks lately, I said. "You have?" she retorted, "How DARE you. Hey, Jimmy, he's been going to Gloria's place. Can you even believe that?!" (Jimmy said, "Gloria's place? She's a piece of work, isn't she? Why would you want to go there?")

    Um, because it's closer?

    "Closer? What's that have to do with anything? This is supposed to be your Starbucks location-of-choice."

    And I chose so today, so what are we even talking about here? I replied. "Nothing anymore," Lisa huffed. "We're done. Next."

    Question: Is sarcasm a regular offering at your Starbucks location-of-choice?

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    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Gotta Love Those Linear Days

    So those of you who have been following GottaGettaBlog! already know, probably, that I'm a big fan of what I call Linear Days. There was:

    Today is a variation on the theme - it's a reverse Linear Day:

    • 8-7-6 (August 7, 2006)

    Don't know what it means, but at four minutes after 5 should be an interesting moment: 8-7-6, 5:04.

    3...2...1...blast off!

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    Monday, June 12, 2006

    I've never heard of such a thing!

    You've heard of whistles that only dogs can hear? Well now there's a cellphone ringtone that only teenagers can here! This, according to an article written by Paul Vitello and published in this morning's Chicago Tribune.

    It was originally called Mosquito, "an ultrasonic teenager repellent, an ear-splitting 17-kilohertz buzzer designed to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected." But with a bit of hacking here, and a bit of tweaking there - and the use of the Internet to transport the pirated sound far and wide - Mosquito was morphed into a ring tone pitched high enough for only kids (and presumably dogs) to hear, but not adults.

    Now if you'll excuse me, my kid just told me my cellphone's ringing!

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    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Gremlins on Parade

    Many of you are, no doubt, familiar with the Gremlin - that voice inside your head that's always telling you what's wrong with you. Or maybe you know the Gremlin by some other name - see http://www.ggci.com/NotCoaching/NotGremlin.htm.

    But what can you do when your Gremlin is being particularly loud, boorish, and obnoxious to you?

    The first thing is to remember, as Richard Carson, author of Taming Your Gremlin says, that "your Gremlin knows precisely how to get your attention and will create movies in your head suited to your vulnerabilities." So remember that whatever generalizations your Gremlin happens to make will likely sound particularly compelling you to - even if it is factually inaccurate. Let me repeat that last part ... Even if it is factually inaccurate.

    Second, remember that your self-concept - AND the one being espoused by your Gremlin - "is faulty for one simple reason: you are not a concept." You're a human being and far too complex to be categorized in such absolute terms. So don't let your Gremlin delude you into thinking it knows more about yourself than you do. It really doesn't; it just wants you to think so.

    Third, remember that Gremlin visits are often excellent opportunities for personal growth. You see, while a Gremlin's conclusions are rarely correct, its chattering can actually point us to a constructive learning edge by showing us that we need to learn how to better handle criticism, to feel more comfortable in uncomfortable settings, to recover more quickly from disappointments, as examples.
    See the shift? It goes from Gremlin being all knowing, to Gremlin being all wrong, to Gremlin being a catalyst in facilitating our continued development.
    Last, remember that you're very good at many things and some of them need your attention right now. So, the sooner you can actually re-engage yourself in what you already know you do well, the sooner your Gremlin-itis will subside AND the sooner can start benefitting from its resultant - that is, constructive - insights.

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    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    a perfectly linear moment!

    Check out the date/time of this posting: two minutes (and three seconds) after one o'clock on April 5th, 2006. Said another way, that's 01:02:03 on 04/05/06.

    I was told that this won't happen again for 100 years, but assuming you're using a 12-hour clock, I think it will happen again in just another 720 minutes!

    -----Category: _fun

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    Monday, March 27, 2006

    "juggling" priorities

    Ya just gotta check out this guy's video - Chris Bliss. It's an incredible demonstration of him keeping his priorities in line, demonstrating grace under pressure, and doing so to an excellent Beatles song. Be sure to turn on your speakers and enjoy the entire performance. You will be nothing short of amazed ... and thoroughly delighted.

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    Monday, March 20, 2006

    Placebo vs. Placebo

    Fun article (title above) in the April 2006 issue of Discover magazine, citing research into whether doctors can manipulate the placebo effect.

    For the testing, medical researcher Ted Kaptchuk used sugar pills and pretend acupuncture - both fake medicines - to see which one worked better to relieve chronic arm pain. Half of his subjects received "acupuncture" with needles that retracted before they pierced the skin. The other half received little blue pills made of cornstarch.

    Results:

    • after 10 weeks, the pill-takers said their pain decreased about 15%.
    • after 8 weeks, the "acupunctured" reported more than a 26% a drop in their pain levels.

    Conclusion:

    • Not receiving acupuncture reduces pain more than not taking drugs!

    Interesting side-bar:

    • 25% of the acupuncture group experienced side effects, including 19 people who felt pain and 4 people whose skin became red/swollen.
    • 31% of the fake pill group experienced side effects, including dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue restlessness, rashes, headaches, nausea, and nightmares.
    • 3 subjects were forced to withdraw from the study because the side effects failed to subside even after "doses" were reduced.
    • the side effects experienced exactly matched those described as possible by the doctors at the beginning of the study.

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    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Half as Much is Twice as Good

    "Maybe optimistic men have good reason to feel cheerful. A new study suggests that they may be less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than men who are less hopeful." So reports the New York Times in a March 7, 2006 articles by Eric Nagourney titled, "Patterns: Happy-Go-Lucky Guy? Your Heart May Thank You."

    "The most optimistic men had a 50 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease over the 15 years than the least optimistic men."
    No, that's not a typo.

    According to researchers, it seems that "optimists are better able to cope with problems, to reach out for help from other people when they need it, and to follow their medical treatments." And a 50% lower risk results.

    Hmm. I'm thinking today's gonna be the best day ever. How about you?!!!

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    Monday, February 27, 2006

    A bit of Life Coaching Humor

    Now no one said it would be easy!




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    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    Just for Fun - Convenience Maximized













    Talk about one-stop-shopping!

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    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    Space Clutter and Sacred Cows

    This in from the Associated Press: More than 9,000 pieces of space debris are orbiting the Earth and it's a problem that's only going to get worse.

    According to an article in this month's Science magazine, each piece of this space junk measures 4 inches or more and totals 5,500 tons. What's worse, even if space launches were immediately stopped, the debris would continue to grow as the pieces already up there collide and break into additional pieces.

    The story reminds me of a blog entry I posted back in July of last year called, Sacred Cows Behind Invisible Fences. The metaphor has changed, but the idea is the same - there are all sorts of outdated policies and procedures that are just floating around out there, colliding with each other, or worse yet, colliding with individual employees, and sapping their energy, enthusiasm, and productivity.

    Now I know that January is usually a time of starting new things, but maybe it makes sense to use this January as an opportunity to get rid of some old, outdated, things, too. Imagine the clutter that could be eliminated if every boss got rid of just one piece of "space debris," just one Sacred Cow?

    Can't think of what you'd like to eliminate? What then would you like to see your boss get rid of? Maybe you could work on it together.

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    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Another Linear Day

    Almost forgot. Did forget, actually. Until my friend T reminded me. Today, January 23rd, in the proud tradition of 2-3-4 and 3-4-5, is another "linear" day. Well, okay, unlike the other two (and April 5th upcoming) today is only a one-dash date. But, hey, 1-23 still forms a pretty straight line from start to finish.

    Here's hoping your day was a pretty straight line from start to finish, too.

    -----Category: _fun

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    Monday, November 28, 2005

    Welcome to Cyber Monday

    For brick-and-mortar-type retailers, the holiday shopping season officially started last Friday - Black Friday, as it's called. Today, Monday, though, is considered the official start of the 2005 holiday shopping season for online retailers. Hence the name, "Cyber" Monday.According to a Shop.org/BizRate Research 2005 eHoliday survey (and as reported by CNN Money.com) 77 percent of online merchants reported substantial sales increases on the Monday after Thanksgiving last year, a trend that is expected to prompt big online promotions and discounts on Cyber Monday this year.Some stats:
    • 43 percent of online retailers plan to offer special promotions and discounts on Cyber Monday. Deals will range from free shipping to gifts with purchase to percentages off.
    • More than one-third of the 1,890 consumers surveyed for the report said they will use Internet access at work to browse or buy gifts online this holiday season.
    • More than half of young adults the ages of 18 to 24, and nearly half of those aged 25 to 34 said they would shop online during work hours.

    Ads by AdGenta.com

    The message: Don't expect all that much from your staff today. Not only will they be probably be pretty "draggy" from the long Thanksgiving weekend, but they've got some pressing priorities to attend to today ... like cyber-shopping.So be nice, and maybe one of their purchases will be for you!

    -----11/29 post script: According to USA Today, "Cyber Monday looks like it lived up to its hype" as online traffic was more than 30% higher than a typical Monday. It just shows to go ya!

    Ads by AdGenta.com

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    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    I'm (not) Lovin' It!

    Now that McDonald's has started listing nutritional information (in English and Spanish) on its food packaging, the Chicago Sun Times went to the street to find out what people had to say about it. My absolute favorite response was from Stacy Coleman, data entry, 34:
    "This is McDonald's. You don't really look for nutrition at McDonald's."

    She's got a point, you know - especially considering that a Big Mac is 560 Calories and has a whopping 42% of the recommended daily intake of Sodium. (According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.)

    Ads by AdGenta.com

    Another great response was from Yvonne Johnson, bank representative, 45:

    "I suppose if you're cutting calories but ... a fry is a fry. It's still basically calories."

    And how do those fries weigh in? Well, a medium - which is Mickey-Dee-speak for "small" - has 350 Calories and 25% of the recommended daily intake of Fat. (Again, according to the USFDA.)So, now that you know all that, where are you going for lunch?!

    Ads by AdGenta.com

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    Monday, October 24, 2005

    What's wrong with this picture?














    Imagine the 'dunking' process and compare that to what you see here. Sort of defies logic, doesn't it?!

    So how do YOU defy logic with some of your actions? And if that's not what you mean to be doing ... make it right.

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    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Do You Sudoku?

    A great new game hit the comics/crossword puzzle page of the local paper. It's called Sudoku. And if you love logic - and problem solving - this is a game for you.

    Here's an example, from wikipedia, of what a ready-to-start Sudoku puzzle might look like:

    "The rules of Sudoku are simple," according to www.websudoku.com. "Enter digits from 1 to 9 into the blank spaces. Every row must contain one of each digit. So must every column, as must every 3x3 square. " This site is particularly fun in that there's a seemingly unlimited supply of new puzzles. You can also choose what level of difficulty you want - easy, medium, hard, or evil.

    You can then print them (as I do) or play on-line. But a word of caution - like Spider Solitare (on an XP computer go: Start > All Programs > Games), or Lemmings (mercifully, no longer available) , or Snood (their tag line is "forget life ... play snood!"), or any other of this ilk - set limits so you don't get too carried away.

    Yes, taking relaxing breaks is good medicine. (For Sudoku puzzles click here.) But, puleeze, people, set a timer if you need a reminder to get back to work!

    Question: What types of games do YOU play to take your mind off things a bit?

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    Monday, August 29, 2005

    American Craft Exposition

    I went the the American Craft Exposition at Northwestern University over the weekend. What fun it was to talk with some of the artists about their craft, inspiration, and creative trajectory.

    My faves who have websites:

    Daniel J. Essig, from Asheville, North Carolina - this 'bridge' is made out of book pages!
    www.danielessig.com















    Ralph Prata, from Bloomingdale, New York - it all starts with a block of concrete!
    www.ralphprata.com/home.html

















    Chris Roberts-Antieau, from Manchester, Michigan - Wonderfully funny 'fiber decorative" art.
    www.chrisroberts-antieau.com
















    Jay Rogers, from Cambridge, Massachusetts - there's nothing like thinking inside the box ... and some prudent use of a little SuperGlue!
    www.jayrogersboxes.com














    Ken Girardini, from Sykesville, Maryland - I wish you could see his patina paintings on steel ... they're absolutely marvelous!
    www.girardinidesign.com




















    There was also a wood-turner there named David Nittmann who gave a demonstration of his lathe craft. One of the things he said along the way was that he believes the human spirit needs to be nurtured not just by food, love, but by inspiration, as well.

    I felt what he meant.

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    Monday, August 22, 2005

    "The Marketing Gods Must be Crazy"

    (... from an article of the same name by Paul Lukas in the September 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine, page 34 ...)

    For a long time, the reason to drink Diet Coke was "Just for the Taste of It." Things are a lot more complex these days as Coke marketers parse demographic segmentsa nd createdrinks for each niche. There's now a new Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda and Coca-Cola Zero, which, as its name implies, has zero calories - as opposed to the regular and Splenda versions of Diet Coke, both of which have, um, zero calories. And then there's still Coke's original no-cal cola, Tab. All of which leads to some very creating marketing-speak.

    Diet Coke - Diet Coke
    • Launched - 1982
    • Brand message as found on Coke.com website - "Diet Coke is your style, it's your sass. It's doing what makes you happy ... So flirt, laugh, dance, prance, giggle, wiggle - do what feels good."
    • Brand message as reported by SVP of Coca-Cola Brands - "The adult cola taste that uplifts with style - it's a very stylish brand. It's upscale. It's sophistication, but an invitational sophistication."
    • Flavor Profile per Coca-Cola's spokesman - "According to lore - I've never heard this internally disputed or confirmed - it resembles what used to be New Coke."

    Diet Coke with SplendaDiet Coke with Splenda -

    • Launched - May 2005
    • Brand message as found on Coke.com website - "For those who love the wweet and intense taste of Splenda Brand Sweetener, now there's one more way to enjoy Diet Coke."
    • Brand message as reported by SVP of Coca-Cola Brands - "An adult cola taste, it uplifts with style, and it's sweetened with Splenda, which is a sweetener people say they want. It's that simple."
    • Flavor Profile per Coca-Cola's spokesman - "It's meant to mimic Diet Coke. But with Splenda, you will taste a difference, and the Splenda lover loves his new flavor note."

    Coca-Cola ZeroCoca-Cola Zero -

    • Launched - June 2005
    • Brand message as found on Coke.com website - "A new kind of beverage that features real Coca-Cola taste and nothing else. Nothing that could potentially get in the way of your chill."
    • Brand message as reported by SVP of Coca-Cola Brands - "It's really the pause that lets them re-center in this fast-paced, time-warped world, and keep going. That's the 'just chill' part of the positioning."
    • Flavor Profile per Coca-Cola's spokesman - "It's formulated to match regular Coca-Cola."

    TaBTaB -

    • Launched - 1963
    • Brand message as found on Coke.com website - "Tab has achieved a retro pop-culture status and has the reputation of being somewhat hard to find."
    • Brand message as reported by SVP of Coca-Cola Brands - "It's continuing to meet the needs of the small but unbelievably passionate group of people who continue to love Tab, but it isn't actively marketed."
    • Flavor Profile per Coca-Cola's spokesman - "It has a strong cola flavor, with that distinctive saccharine sweetness."

    I knew I wasn't understanding what Coke was up to, but after reading all of this, the choice is clear ...

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    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    The Solution: Have an even BIGGER Problem

    Procrastination is pretty common. So I was eager to learn how a relatively new client would handle a task he agreed to take on ... one he'd been meaning to finish (and start, too, for that matter) for the better part of ... a year.

    To our mutual delight, he reported just this morning that he not only started, but finished, the task in its entirety! (Again, congrats, D.)

    When asked what helped him finally get it going, he summed it up in this way:
    "When faced with an even BIGGER problem, the stuff that seemed impossible got a whole lot easier to just go ahead and do."

    In other words, he realized that in order to solve this new problem, he needed to take care of that original thing first. So he did. And just like that, he started ... and finished ... a project he had be putting off for the better part of a year! Just like that, it moved from the impossible ... to completed.

    Dependencies and inter-relationships of things can be a real pain sometimes. But in this case, it turned out to be a cure for procrastination.

    So, what BIGGER problems can you use to help clear out the backlog of your procrastination?

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    Monday, July 25, 2005

    "Does E-mail Make You Dumber?"

    As reported in the August 2005 issue of DISCOVER magazine: A recent study for [Hewlett-Packard] found that British workers’ IQ test scores drop temporarily by an average of 10 points when juggling phones, e-mails, and other electronic messages — more of an IQ drop than occurs after smoking marijuana or losing a night’s sleep.

    Now I find that fascinating. But Bob Stickgold, a cognitive neuroscientist at Harvard University who was quoted in the article, said something even more fascinating to me. "It didn’t [actually] affect their IQ at all; it [only] affected their performance on an IQ test. ”

    So according to Stickgold, all this multi-tasking doesn't actually MAKE you stupid ... it just makes you APPEAR stupd! Well that ought to bolster everyone's self-confidence!!

    Dr. Stickgold's comment, though highlights what might be at the very core of the Perceptions = Reality equation that plague so many people in the workplace. Because in business, if it APPEARS that you tanked on that big assignment, chances are pretty good that your boss is going to think you really DID. And that perception will probably be what your boss remembers as a reality.

    Key Coaching Question: How do YOU manage perceptions like that - especially when you're feeling 10 IQ points to the worse?

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    Thursday, June 30, 2005

    Dead Center

    2005 is officially half over.
    Or if you prefer, half of 2005 officially remains.
    How's the year shaping up for you?
    What would make it the best one yet?
    And what do you need to do to enable that to happen?

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    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    It's a vision thing

    It was time, and I was ready ... to go get my eyes checked, that is. I recognized the signs ... things looked fuzzy ... eyes felt tired ... it had been a few years.

    The thing was, though, that I never cared much for the vision testing process. Which looks better ... this? Or this? This? or THIS? I mean how do I know? I looking through this crazy device with my eyes dilated and glasses off and I can't help but think that the entire reason I'm even there is because I can't see well WITH my glasses, let alone without them. And my pupils being as big as Oreo cookies isn't helping much either! But the doctor STILL wants me to tell him which looks better ... this? Or THIS?

    "Hold on a minute, doc," I responded. "I'm uncomfortable with you relying on ME to tell you what my prescription should be. After all, I'm the one with the vision problem, here."

    He smiled knowingly.

    "Oh, I'm not relying on you," he confided. "I've already determined through my exam what your prescription needs to be. I'm just asking you 'this or THIS' to get your reaction!"

    Really?!

    "Absoultely. Do you know much about car engines?" he asked in a seemingly random sort of way.

    Well, no, not really.

    "So imagine if you went to a mechanic and he relied solely on you to tell him how to repair what's wrong. That'd be absurd! So, too, with eyeglasses. I do my thing and then I simply confirm that I'm right with your answers to my questions."

    What a relief! It's not up to me after all!

    Now you may have already known this is how it works, but I didn't. And for years - literally decades - I've held faulty assumptions about the process. How foolish! How embarrassing! How funny! But true.

    It got me thinking about how often we make assumptions without even realizing it. We ALL do it. And not just with eye care. Consider, for example, some assumptions you might be making at work without even realizing it:

    • Oh, HE is a problem employee because he's always complaining. Well, maybe, but maybe he's got some really important points to make and just having trouble communicating them to you. And maybe you're just not trying as hard as you might to understand him because you assume he's a problem employee;
    • Oh, SHE won't ever agree with my idea. Well, maybe she won't, but maybe she will. And what a shame it'd be if you never ask to find out for sure because you've already assumed she'll say no.
    • Oh, THEY just don't care. Well, maybe, they don't, but maybe you're making it too difficult for them to show you they care because you already assume that they don't.

    The point to all of this is that sometimes the assumptions we make - especially the negative assumptions we make - often times keep us from seeing things as they REALLY are.

    And to think, it took a vision test for me to realize that.

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    Sunday, May 08, 2005

    Happy Mothers' Day!!

    Saturday, March 12, 2005

    Keyword: Happy

    Here's some happy news. The keyword "happy" returns 95.2 million happy sites in Google. It brings 110 million happy sites from MSN's search engine. And it brings a whopping 191 million happy sites from Yahoo!

    The number one "happy" site for both Yahoo and MSN (and the number two site for Google) is www.HappyPuppy.com. But the site has nothing to do with puppy-dogs what-so-ever ... it's a video gaming site.

    That didn't make me so happy. But many of the so-many-million others, did.

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    Friday, March 04, 2005

    A Perfectly "Linear" Day

    Yes, that's right. March 4, 2005, or put another way, 3-4-5. It's nice to know that with all the priorities whirling around, circling back on each other, and getting all tangled up, today offers a little comfort as an absolutely straight-line-of-a-day. So decide where you are ... and where you want to get to ... and crank up the engine to full-speed-forward. Today is YOUR day and you get to make the MOST of it.

    (My apologies to those who read my February 3, 2004 posting and found this somewhat redundant!)

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    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    A conversation with my dog

    Now how did this cartoonist know?!


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    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    Family Rituals and Routines

    So here's an unabashed plug for an e-book I created a few years ago. It's called Family Rituals: Fun Things Families Do Together and is available at www.funfamilyrituals.com.

    This e-book contains more than 110 family routines, behaviors, and activities - rituals that other families already practice - rituals that families from all over have come to enjoy. Chapter 3, Holiday Rituals, is particularly heart-warming this time of year.

    But don't take my word for it. Here's what others have said:

    • "Barry, thanks for the opportunity to reflect on such wonderful moments in my life. I am truly grateful for my mother's good influence on me with rituals and how our family's honored these & created lots of our own as well!" -MJH
    • "I think this ritual thing is pretty cool. I think many people have rituals and don't even realize it!" -SH
    • "This book is really great. I wish you success - and happiness!" -MG

    Fun Family Rituals is available for instant download. So please take a moment and visit www.funfamilyrituals.com/ to purchase your copy of Family Rituals: Fun Things Families Do Together.

    Thanks!


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    Monday, November 29, 2004

    "Advertisers Attempt to Say a Lot Using Very Little Words" - but please don't try this yourself

    You're probably aware of it, even if you haven't recognized it as a trend. More and more, advertisers are saying less and less - with their tag lines, anyway. Examples (courtesy WSJ, 29-Nov-04, p. B1):
    AT&T - '&'
    Citibank - 'Thank you'
    IBM - 'On'
    MasterCard - 'Priceless'
    Nextel - 'Done'
    Verizon Wireless - 'In'
    Now, while less actually IS more sometimes (thank you Mies van der Rohe, Buckminster Fuller, and (actually) Robert Browning via "Andrea del Sarto") it's my view that managers are often TOO parsimonious - that is, too frugal, to the point of being stingy - with their words. Now this isn't the worse thing that could happen considering how many bosses just don't know when to be quiet already. But it takes a LOT of work to communicate succinctly AND effectively. And all too often brevity on one's part precludes understanding on everyone else's part.

    I've long subscribed to the belief that Effective Communication is "insuring that the message you intend to be received is exactly the same as the message that actually is received." For anyone's whose ever tried, you know that that's no small task. And while staccato sound bites may work for television and print ads, it's NOT how leaders should talk. Not at first anyway. First, you have to be sure that people know what you're talking about - as in what you're REALLY talking about.

    Not sure they're sure? Then ask them. But don't just ask if they understand, ask "What is it you hear me saying to you?" That's the better question.

    Don't confuse quickly with clarity - especially in your important (read: daily) communications with others. The time you spend on the front-end insuring everyone is clear on your meaning is time you won't have to spend on the back-end cleaning up afterwards because they really weren't.

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    Saturday, November 27, 2004

    Team Alphabet: Conversation Omega

    A digression: The guys originally assigned to creating the alphabet must've been pretty fun-loving bunch. I mean, you'd expect they'd be a creative group since they were creating written language and all. But, I think they were sort of punch-drunk by time they hit the last third of the project…

    Team Alphabet, Guy 1: Okay, we're up to 's'. What's next?

    Team Alphabet, Guy 2: I like 't'

    Team Alphabet, Guy 3: Yeah, but that's another 'eee' letter - and we've already got B, C, D, E, G, and P.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 4: Who cares, not meeeee!

    Team Alphabet, Guy 2: Oooh, Oooh. Next comes 'u' (get it? Not, meeee, but you!)

    Team Alphabet, Guy 1: I like straight lines so let's make 'u' look like a 'v' instead.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 4: We could do that, but we're being paid for 26 letters and we're still a few short. So how about if we use both 'u' and 'v'?

    Team Alphabet, Guy 3: You don't think that's doubling up?

    Team Alphabet, Guy 2: Nah, and, say, that gives me another idea - let's make the next letter a double up - double 'u' that is - sort of like the 'm/n' thing only upside down … and in reverse!

    Team Alphabet, Guy 1: Yeah, and that sort of sets the stage for the grand finale, like if the alphabet was a song or something.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 2: Nice. That could be our next project. You know, sort of like [in a sing-song-y voice] "ABCDEFG, tell me what you think of ... THAT!"

    Team Alphabet, Guy 3: I'd 'x' the 'that' if I were you.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 4: Perfect, 'x' is next, then.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 3: Why?

    Team Alphabet, Guy 4: 'Y' - that's perfect, too! Keep 'em comin'. You're really on a roll.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 1: One more, guys, just one more.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 1: What do you think of 'Zed'?

    Team Alphabet, Guy 2: Of what?

    Team Alphabet, Guy 1: I said 'zed', Fred.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 2: I like 'zed', Ed.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 3: Oh, brother. You're starting to sound like all those 'eee' letters again, guys.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 4: Ted's right. So if it's up to me, I think it should be a 'zee'.

    Team Alphabet, Guy 1: I agree!

    Team Alphabet, Guy 2: Me three!

    Team Alphabet, Guy 3: (sigh!)

    Well say what you will, but these guys delivered on time, on budget, and to scope. So here's hoping that your team meetings are as productive - and fun - as this one!

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    Friday, September 24, 2004

    The NEW Swiss Army "Knife"

    Hats off the Victorinox and one of their latest/greatest ideas:

    No knife, so there's nothing for the TSA to confiscate. But with its retractable ball point pen and LED mini light, this 64MB USB jump-drive is very much in tune with the modern day world.

    Anyone who's ever owned a swiss army knife's just gotta love this thing! (And what better way to demonstrate that I now know how to post pictures on the ole blog.

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    Tuesday, September 07, 2004

    "Amzanig"

    This wild notice has been running around one the Internet and in and out of people's email boxes and, well, I couldn't believe it either!

    I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg

    THE PAOMNNEHAL PWEOR OF THE HMUAN MNID

    Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

    Amzanig huh?

    Amzanig, indeed!

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    Friday, September 03, 2004

    "Beer-loving bear knows his brand"

    This was the headline from an article in the August 20th edition of Canada's National Post newspaper! Subtitle:
    "Bruin sleeps it off after downing 36 cans of Rainier".
    As reported in the paper, it seems that a certain black bear was recently found "reclining on the lawn - presumably with a splitting headache and a craving for a cheeseburger" at a Washington state campground about an hour or so northeast of Seattle. The story continues:

    "The bear, estimated to be about two years old, broke into campers' coolers and, using his claws and teeth to open the cans, knocked back the beers."

    Apparently, the bear tried one can of Busch beer before finding the Rainier brand more to his liking! (Busch is a mass-market, discount beer, while Rainier, owned by Pabst Brewing, is a premium ale sold only in the Pacific Northwest.)

    "We think it's a testament to the quality of our brand," said Neal Stewart, senior brand manager with Rainier Beer.
    The story continues,
    "Assuming the bear weighed a typical 500 pounds and drank the 36 beers in about two hours, it would have had a blood alcohol level of 2.58mg/100 ml. That concentration of alcohol in the blood is more than 30 times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle - if the bear were human. And had a car.

    "Rainier appeared to make a lasting impression on the Baker Lake bear. It returned to the campsite the day after its binge and was lured into a trap that was baited with doughnuts, honey, and two cans of Rainier.

    "Wildlife officers were able to capture and relocate the bear."
    Too funny, don't you agree?!

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    Friday, August 27, 2004

    Canadian Rockies

    Back from vacation in the Canadian Rockies - Banff, Jasper, etc. Boy, is that part of the world (Moraine Lake, the view from Sulfur Mountain, and Patricia Lake, etc.) bee-YOU-tee-full, or what?! A perfect way for Nancy and I to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

    Now for those of you who know me, I'm not what you'd call the outdoors type. There's a reason that God created the suburbs I always say. I guess t
    hat's why we stayed at some very nice accommodations along the way (such as the Buffalo Mountain Lodge and the Pyramid Lake Resort). But one of my clients suggested that I be sure to listen to what the trees might have to say to me as we hiked up mountains, through meadows, along lakes and up glaciers. So I did. (My clients give me homework - isn't that a hoot?!)

    Well I can't tell you how amazed I was - how captivating this thing called nature was for me. And how talkative it became once I really started listening:

    Here's some of what the trees had to say to me -

    • "Wear bug spray!"
    • "Embrace the stillness."
    • "Lay down your roots - as deep and as wide as you can."
    • "Stand tall so you can stretch to the sky."

    Here's some of what the mountains, waters, and glaciers had to say to me -

    • "It's not about perfection; it's about BEING."
    • "With enough time and effort, there are no obstacles."

    And here's some of what the big rocks had to say to me -

    • "When it's time to change ... don't mind change."
    • "On any given day, the same rock can mark the way (by making a path to follow), aid the way (by being a stepping stone on a steep hill), block the way (as that gigantic boulder smack-dab in the middle of the path did), or eliminate the way entirely (as many an avalanche has done). The key is in knowing what kind of rock you're being at any point in time."

    Funny, though, now that I'm back in the flatlands of Chicagoland, I still see the mountains on the horizon. And the trees still seem to be talking to me!

    (Thanks for the suggestion, Gabriele.)

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    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    Guitar Player Magazine - Beatlemania and the Need for More Innovation

    The cover story of the August 2004 issue of Guitar Player magazine really surprised me - "Beatlemania! The Guitar Story". Why, so many (very many) years later did this typically cutting-edge magazine choose to make this issue their "Super-Special Beatles Collector's Issue"?

    On close inspection (i.e. after reading the 'noise from the editor' page, the answer became apparent. Well almost. Michael Molenda wrote that the nostalgia was to commemorate the Fab Four's 40th anniversary of their very first Ed Sullivan show performance. That's cool. Except that their first appearance was on February 9th ... and this is the August edition of the monthly magazine. As we coaches like to ask, "What's up with THAT?!"
     
    Truth be told, the articles are really good. REALLY good. There's some information you can't seem to get enough of and the 'inside story' about how the John, Paul, George, and Ringo did their thing is definitely in that category for me. (Point of information: I was one of the zillion young lads who decided to learn how to play the guitar on Monday, February 10, 1964 ... and still play - although not nearly as much - to this very day.) It's amazing just how innovative the boys were. Did you know, for example, that Sgt. Peppers was recording on a four-track recording machine. Most of today's music uses four tracks (or more) just for the singing!
     
    But it was somehow unsettling to me that this was what Guitar Player chose to write about in this issue at this point in time. Hardly a major stroke of inspiration - especially given the fact that it wasn't even the right month to do a 40-year acknowledgement. And it seemed particularly more lame given the context of writing about the most innovated and inspirational band ever. (Apologies to all you Rolling Stones fans out there!) Yet GP magazine was clearly very pleased with their effort. 

     
    So here's the link back to you - Like the August 2004 issue of Guitar Player magazine, how might you be coming off far less inspirational or innovative than  you think? 

    • How might you be re-treading the same tired old solutions to whatever new challenges are coming your way?
    • If you were totally in tune (pun intended) with your inner-creativity, enthusiasm, and resolve, what would you do differently about the problems and challenges you're currently facing? 

    My suggestion: Put on a couple of your favorite Beatle's CDs (albums?) and let your creative juices flow. I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised by how well it works. ("I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go ...")


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    Friday, July 16, 2004

    Are They Being Paid by the Syllable?

    So I have a Starbucks card. I'm not particularly proud of it, but I spend enough time meeting people for coffee that I appreciate the convenience. There's something I've been experiencing lately - at any of a number of different Starbucks' locations - that I do NOT appreciate, though.

    It seems to me that Starbucks is getting some sort of kick out of seeing how many times they can have an order repeated. Here's just one example of just how absurd it's getting - and yes, this really happened with a woman in front of me yesterday:

    Order Taker: What can I get you?

    Patron: An Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha, please.

    OT: An Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha?

    P: Yes, an Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha.

    OT (to the Barrister): One Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha.

    Barrister: An Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha?

    OT (to the Patron): An Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha, right?

    P (to the Order Taker): Yes, an Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha.

    OT (to the Barrister): Yes, an Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha, please.

    B: One Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha coming up.

    B (to the Patron few moments later): One Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha!

    P (to the Barrister): Oooh, this Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha looks delicious!

    Cashier (who, as you know, was standing in between the people having this conversation the whole time): What did you order?

    P: An Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha.

    C: An Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha?

    P: Yes, an Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha.

    C: Okay, one Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha.

    P: And a really good Iced Venti White Chocolate Mocha it is!

    Me (to myself): Oh brother!


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