Saturday, November 22, 2008

e-mailed cat and dog humor

EXCERPTS FROM A DOG'S DIARY

Day number 180
8:00 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
9:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
9:40 am - OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!
10:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
11:30 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
12:00 noon - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
1:00 pm - OH BOY! THE YARD! MY FAVORITE!
4:00 pm - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
5:00 PM - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
5:30 PM - OH BOY! MOM! MY FAVORITE!


Day number 181
8:00 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
9:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
9:40 am - OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!
10:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
11:30 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
12:00 noon - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
1:00 pm - OH BOY! THE YARD! MY FAVORITE!
4:00 pm - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
5:00 PM - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
5:30 PM - OH BOY! MOM! MY FAVORITE!


EXCERPTS FROM A CAT'S DIARY

DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair ... must try this on their bed.

DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not working according to plan.

DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.

DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Veteran's Day

This past Tuesday was the first one where I was able to think of being a veteran without the immediate concerns of actually being in theatre. It was good. Regular day at work, except that my picture was on the company's intranet front page- so the 10 people who know me there gave me fist bumps. In the evening was a 3 minute speaker at a Scout Eagle court of honor. Wore my ACUs, chatted with a retired Marine who was presenting a service award, and even got a brief bit of applause at the end of my comments- hopefully not just cheering that they were over.

I'm genuinely proud to count myself among these brothers and sisters in arms.

A friend sent me a link to some very well done photos of Korengal valley in Afghanistan. As I mentioned to him- I see such photos with a completely new set of eyes after the past 2 years.

And a good set of slides from a commercial site.

A French kid telling fairy tales is cute

I have another friend (I think I'm up to two or three friends now...) who works with computers and internetty kinds of things. He will occasionally forward me various oddities from his surfing.

Today he blessed me with a video clip of a little French girl telling some fanciful home-made fairy tale. We both served missions in France, but I don't recall this little girl from our time there. She's quite the little entertainer.


video

Tolerance and protesting

I've addressed the curiosity of violent peace protestors before, and just had someone send me to a link of a press release from a Catholic leader on behalf of the Mormons in California.

Catholic Bishop Decries Religious Bigotry Against Mormons

There's something odd about protesting intolerance in an intolerant way. People can be fascinating self-contradictions sometimes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Buying appliances

Apparently Lowe's has been doing a good job selling appliances.

Reminds me of one of the Bryan Regan jokes I've seen where he talks about selling appliances.

He mimics a guy standing next to a refrigerator. "This one keeps your food cold for $400." Then he mimics walking over and leaning on another. "Come on over here. This one will keep your food cold for $600." And then he walks over to another, "And this baby right here? Keeps your food cold for $800." Bryan's such the master of upselling.

And it has been a while since I saluted demotivators.com. All of the demotivators.com stuff just makes me laugh. It is the perfect complement to The Office in terms of spoofing some of the mistakes we make in business environments. Painfully funny.

Blogged

As Veteran's Day approached, I was contacted by an old friend who initially had gotten to know me while he worked as a reporter and I served my tour in Iraq.

We chatted online a bit about the elections for part of a blog story he did. I'm pretty happy the elections are over primarily because I found all the negative campaigning fatiguing. When I write about the negative campaigning, I'm not talking about one candidate ripping the other, but rather the habit all the candidates have of trying to make the case that they have solutions- to all the incredibly awful problems that we face. Not to belittle any of the many large and important problems we have, but frankly, our lives in America are pretty good.

Free elections, peacefully held, with leadership that at least to a degree yields to the rule of law and steps down when the vote dictates a different direction. That is outstanding.

I would be intrigued by a candidate that had a primarily positive campaign, something like "yeah, we've got some problems, but for the most part, life is great in America- I want to keep all of that greatness, and I've got a few ideas that will help our great country be even greater."

Other ways my life has been particularly blessed recently- some great church meetings yesterday. A fabulous (but cold) bike trip with Nathan's scout group on Friday and Saturday up in Damascus, Virginia- 50 miles of fun riding down the mountains alongside a stream/river. The fall foliage was maybe a month or so past prime viewing time, but it was still quite spectacular. And we even saw gas prices below $2 up there. That was a spectacular view as well.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Marketing

When I decided on the career shift into corporate America, one of the options I had given my background was marketing. One of the early 1900's extremely successful marketers is well-known to psychologists for his work in behaviorism. J.B. Watson is perhaps most well-known outside of psychology for something that isn't really linked to his name, but was his concept: the coffee break.

Anyway, I decided against marketing for a variety of reasons, but one of them was the feeling that sometimes the messages put out by marketing have very little fact behind them or are at best misleading. And let there be no doubt, it is about influence. Three words: buy our product(s). Sometimes it is a hard sell, sometimes not. But that is the intent.

One of the companies we were exposed to during the MBA program was a master at marketing, Nike. They had one of their marketing leaders spend some time with us sharing some of their more successful efforts, and he reveled in the moment in a golf tournament where their golf ball, putted by Tiger Woods at a critical moment in a high profile match, paused just at the lip of the cup, with the "swoosh" Nike symbol centered almost perfectly for the camera shot, then dropped into the cup, with the usual Tiger flair and celebration following. It was an awesome golf shot, and Nike got to put their swoosh all over it.

Many sports junkies might think it would be a blast to work for a sports gear company (I heard that one of our peers from an earlier class refused all job offers except from one specific golf gear company- which didn't offer, so as far as I know he remains jobless to the day). I believe ESPN has no problem staffing their Bristol offices with eager interns. My wife has always thought I should be a sportscaster, because I say all the inane and clearly evident things just seconds ahead of the sportscasters whenever I watch a sporting event.

I digress, point being, I checked out Nike just a bit, just as I did a bit of homework on almost any company coming through the MBA program for show and tell, and learned more about how they market the brand and work to protect it.

One of the things I learned was that they do think Wal-Mart is bad for their brand image, so the work-around at the time was they sold the same products under a different, acquired brand, Starter, which they divested themselves of, I believe, earlier this year. A "moisture-wicking" shirt is essentially the same whether it sports a swoosh or a starter logo. They didn't want to miss out on the revenue stream, even if it is one at a lower margin- simply wanting to keep as much market share across the price continuum, if you will.

So it was amusing to me to see this headline a bit ago:
Nike hits Wal-Mart with copycat suit.

Marketing: perception and reality. Or at least perception.