Monday, September 29, 2008

Going Into a Board Meeting...with God

For the next two days, I will be in intense negotiations with my single biggest investor- God.

The annual review process (aka Rosh Hashana-the Jewish New Year) is a time for God to assess my performance against the goals we set at last year’s annual meeting.

As Chairman of the Board, God looks at all of the details, leaving no stone unturned.

Typically, these are long sessions.

I am cautiously optimistic about God approving my ongoing operations for another year, but you can’t take these things for granted.

You may lobby on my behalf by emailing God directly or connecting to Him via the social network of your choice (He’s big on Facebook now, I’m told)
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Best Wedding Invite Ever…

My sister and future brother-in-law have done it again.

First, they put out one of the best wedding websites ever. Ok, I’m biased.

And now, the most humorous and remarkable wedding envelope.

Over on my Igniting The Revolution blog, I talk about ‘building your personal brand.” Here’s proof that your personal brand extends to all aspects of your life.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Gallup Organization=Data Mercenaries

The other night the Gallup organization called me to get my thoughts on various issues (McCain/Obama, Economy, healthcare, where I bank?).
At first, I was excited.
Then, as the questions progressed, I started to feel irritated and angry.
The guy on the phone (Phillip Jackson out of the Houston office-call him at 402 952-4444 to say hi ; no he's not the LA Lakers coach) was nice enough.
It was the questions...and how they were framed.
I've spent enough time with data to know that the old adage of "lies, damn lies, and statistics" is a truism and I found these questions to be perfectly suited for manipulative interpretation.
  • Are you currently satisfied with your entire standard of living? Can you afford everything you want to afford?
Well, yeah, I’m not depressed about it, but sure there are things I’d like to buy that I can’t
  • Do you feel empowered by your supervisor?
Uh, I’m self-employed, so yes, I guess I do.
Anyway, a series of questions that, over time, just made me less and less impressed with the whole process.
I don’t remember all of the details now (I was managing the 3 kidios at the time), but I remember thinking “Man, these questions are just ridiculous. You can do whatever you want with this data to tell whatever story you want.”
Now, when I hear Gallup, I will hear “data mercenary.”

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

The end of political discourse?

The most commented on post in Jer979 blog history (2466 posts) has created some casualties.
And I am concerned that it is symbolic of a larger issue going on.
Star commenter Tjada says she is on a “blog hiatus” until after the election.
Jdub says he won’t comment on political related posts anymore b/c it gets him too worked up.
Others have sent me notes about their reactions.
I’ve got two thoughts on this.
On a macro scale,  I wonder  if blogs are just not good for political discourse. Are we really conversing the way a blog is supposed to?
Or are we shouting at  each other? Just getting angrier and angrier.
And as a blogger/marketer, I hate to lose readers (or get them to the point where they don’t want to add their $.02, which you know I love.)
On the other hand, the blog is about what I am thinking about, so in theory, even if no one reads it still has value, right?
When I first started, it was way for me to “vent.”
Now, though, I love using it to communicate. To get conversations started. To give folks a frame of reference. To build bonds and bridges.
So, I am not sure what to do?
Create controversy is part of my mantra, yes. But, I want conversation more than anything else.
Maybe it’s time to change the tagline? (aka the mission).

  Image by vasta via Flickr
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Childhood Moment

One of those things that makes fatherhood special is seeing your kids do things that everyone knows is silly, but that no one cares about.

Case in point is Tonka.

Every night she sleeps with a diaper box on her bed, full of her books.

It’s funny. She knows it. I know it.

But, we both love it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jim Henson and the 3 Kid Family Excursion

 Jim Henson exhibit on Mall field trip (13) In the latest of our series of Family excursions, my dad and I took the 3 kids to see the Jim Henson traveling exhibit at the Smithsonian.

The heat index that day was 102, so Paco and Tonka cooled their feet in the National Sculpture Garden pool facing the National Archives building.

Without my dad, this day would not have been possible. The NFO was at work and it was the first effort to take all three out.

The exhibition itself was smaller than expected and good. It’s hard to measure ROI, since it was so hot, we had trouble finding parking, it was the day of the DC triathlon and the kids were more excited about the carousel and getting ice cream, but it’s important to take advantage of your hometown, so I felt good about that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The $23,000 11 year old...

The RIAA Logo.Image via Wikipedia I'd heard horror stories of the *great business practice* of the RIAA suing their customers, but it had never hit home...until last week.

Was talking to a good friend, Rachel W. who told me the following story.

Despite warning her 11 year old not to download music illegally online, one night a babysitter came over and introduced the 11 year old to Limewire.

In the digital age equivalence of peer-pressure she said, "yeah, it's illegal, but everyone does it."

Well, fast forward a few months and Rachel W. gets a note from Verizon. Her IP address has been identified and the RIAA is coming after her.

Her husband is a lawyer, but from all looks of it, she's got no out.

They get sent to a website, where they fork over $1000 PER SONG.

Yes, that's right, the 11 year old downloaded 23 songs.

And as if that isn't bad enough, she knew of people in her suit whose kids had downloaded hundreds of songs, but paid the same amount.

Needless to say, she's irritated and wants revenge.

She just doesn't know what to do.

Oh, and she's $23,000 worse off for it.

BTW, Joe Biden is one of the RIAA's top-voting Senators and proposed a $1bn bill to monitor P2P ('filesharing') networks to catch people like Rachel W's 11 year old daughter.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Sewage Story...

Sam Blanc and an early Roto-Rooter machine.Image via Wikipedia
Nothing better than having your main sewer line back up and the basement of your house begin to back up with putrid water.

Yep, so it was.

Not pretty, particulary $600 later after the Roto-Rooter guy [Rema from Burma], (who admittedly worked his butt off snaking the drain) showed me the roots that had gotten into the drain.

The good news, the problem was solved.

The bad news, it's a band-aid on a larger problem.

I'm told that once roots get into the drain, you're looking at only a matter of time before the pipes are totally gone...which requires replacing them (digging up the yard, etc.). Won't be pretty or

Anyway, further evidence that owning a home is a never-ending money pit.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Polite Efficiency

True Politeness.Image via Wikipedia You know who my favorite people are?

People who respect your time and are efficient, but polite in the way they do it.

There are abrupt and efficient.

There are polite and inefficient.

Let's get to the point, but be nice about it.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

NYC FOJ Meetups-Connecting FOJ’s is What It’s All About

The reason why I like the "Friends Of Jer (FOJ) Meetups" is because I get to see people from various parts of my life come together, meet each other, and engage in great conversation.

NYC foj gathering 005While the headline for my trip to NYC was a presentation at NYU's Stern School of Business on "Building Your Personal Brand Through Social Media," I took the opportunity to arrange two separate gatherings at Think Coffee in the West Village (yes, the FOJ's are so trendy).

In the afternoon session, I was joined by Abigail (JHU '95), Donna (Microsoft colleague), Michael (Snickelways colleague) and Barak (my brother, not the presidential candidate.)

The conversation moved around, but centered on the idea of "finding your true career calling." We discussed people's underlying motivations and passions, how to identify them, and then how to put an action plan in place to realize them.

The evening session brought Roz and Robbie (DC folks), Scott (former roommate), Efrem (UWS guy), Matt (another Snick colleague), Rabbi Jan (former teacher), and NYC foj gathering 010Abigail (back for more..she lives around the corner).

Things got intense early as we (actually they, as I just listened) got political and hard core!! Obama, Clinton, Palin, McCain, abortion, abortion, abortion. It was CRAZY, but I loved it. 

The best though is seeing the new relationships being formed. Abigail has a friend for Barak to talk with.  Matt and Robbie pulled out the laptop and started talking Ruby on Rails. 

Anyway, a great chance to reconnect and to help establish new connections. Thanks to all who showed up.


NYC foj gathering 011


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

NYC on the Day After Meltdown 2008

I woke up in New York to a city in a daze.
Like the morning after a hangover, you could see the confused looks on people's faces.
I overheard snippets of people's conversations.
"Everyone is stressed out!"
"Nobody knows what is going to happen."
"This is just insane."
The great 2008 Market Meltdown had hit the day before and here I was walking through the smoky ruins.
Yet, not. 
The energy of New York is eternal.
It is that energy that, once I felt it, I realized I missed it.
Not so much that I would live there again-the city does tend to grate on you-but the vivacity and the speed and intensity....and the beauty.
I've long said that New York is a 'walker's paradise,' and this 75 degree day only served to NYC foj gathering 002reinforce that image. With one exception, I walked everywhere over the two days.
It is the people who make up a city, so I focused on them.
Starting out on the East side, I met up with Todd at Discovery. He's a social media guru and we shared stories and ideas.
Next, I headed towards Times Square, but not before seeing both David and Marty whom I called consecutively with the message of "I am going to be walking by your building in 5 minutes, meet me on the street to say hi."
And they did.
As luck would have it, one of the bloggers I read, Robert Scoble, had posted that the first 20 people under the Kodak sign in Times Sq. at noon on Tuesday would receive a free Seagate Hard Drive
I was #15 and after meeting some great people in line waiting for Scoble, I got my 500 GB portable drive. Yeah, baby!
Meeting me there was David, a social media strategist, whose work I greatly admire. We took the subway down to Union Sq., got some falafel, sat in the park, and talked shop. I had never met him in person, but took the opportunity to reach take a social network based relationship and 'make it real.'
Watching the people and seeing their life stories unfold, I made my way down Broadway to the first of the two FOJ meetups (details tomorrow) before my presentation at Stern business school.
When all was said and done, I was in bed at 1am.
And after three more quick meetings Jeff Siegel (an innovator and businessman in the green roofing arena), Frank (the founder of and Philippe, (a bundle of energy who is going to save the CBC Orchestra), it was back to Amtrak and return home.
36 hours in New York and the opportunity to engage with over 270 people (there were over 250 at the Stern even). Plus, I got to walk everywhere and enjoy the city.
That's high ROI on your time.
And the people of the New York, regardless of financial market meltdown, maintain their incessant drive. Love it, baby!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Comedian: Movie Review and Business Tool

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 17:  (UK TABLOID   Actor ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife It's not often that I can point to a movie and say, "this really helped my professional life."

And you certainly wouldn't expect that from a documentary (Comedian) about Jerry Seinfeld's efforts to re-invent himself from scratch back on the comedy circuit.

But, it did.

You see, I come from the school of thought that presentations are really performances, as Ben Zander would say. That when I stand up in front of an audience to talk about Marketing that yes, they want to be informed.

But, they also want to be entertained.

Seeing how Jerry and the younger comic whose rise (sort of) was profiled, Orny Adams, attacked their jobs made me look more critically at my own.

For example:
  1. Never open with new material.
    If you have new material, test it in the middle of the show, see how it goes and if it works, then you can put it first. (This was actually very timely, since I was giving a presentation, er performance, the next morning and had planned-but switched-on starting with new material.)

  2. Take every chance you get.
    When you are working on your "act," you should be willing to get up in front of any crowd at any time to try it out. That's the only way to get better. You look at each performance as both a game and a practice round. I do this, but Jerry helped put it in a different perspective for me. Any speaking opportunities for me out there?

  3. Be HyperCritical and Practice
    Watch yourself on video (I admit, I don't like to do this). Look at nuances. Words that are used as fillers. Mannerisms. Put yourself under the microscope.
 Professional life aside, it was a great movie. Showed that Jerry, even though he's "made it," shares the same concerns and fears that we all do. Puts even more of a human face on him.

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Concerned/Interested in Data Privacy Issues?

Some really great articles in the September, 2008 issue of Scientific American on issues around Privacy.


I particularly enjoyed Daniel Solove’s article called “The End of Privacy” and his assessment of ‘Generation Google.”


Solove is a law professor at GW. I may try and track him down for coffee. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Negotiating Skills

B-schools and law schools spend a lot of time teaching negotiation skills.

Whole books and libraries are devoted to the subject.

My suggestion. Forget it all and put these students in a kitchen with a 3 year old during mealtime.

Then, try to convince the 3 year old to eat a balanced meal.

If you can do that, you’re well on your way to the top of the corporate ladder.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Raise the price of water…

Viv goes surfing!

Image by kevindooley via Flickr

The winning “World’s Best Presentations” kawasaki presentation was entitled

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: design crisis)

It’s a powerful statement of how safe drinking water is become increasingly scarce.

I saw it and thought “ok, what can I do?”

Then, I was reminded of a review I saw in Popular Mechanics about a grey-water toilet system called Aqus (it takes the water you use in your sink and repurposes it for your toilet)

I thought “great, I’ll get one.”

Then, I saw the price tag $279, which is $10 more than I spent on water for my whole house for the first 7 months of the year.

It’s hard to think that a system on one toilet is going to reduce water costs by 50%. It’s not.

So, the question becomes: how much is saving water for others worth it to me?

Crass, but true.

On the other hand, if the price of water goes up (like oil/gas), well, at some point, it’s worth it.

The free market strikes again..


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Personal Responsibility...Hurricane Ike

There's a part of me that says, "if you voluntary chose to ignore mandatory evacuation orders from the Hurricane's path [and presuming you had some way of getting out]...and you didn't, well then, you should be at the absolute bottom of the list for help."

Why should other people subsidize your stupidity?

From the CNN article on Ike:

Many people, like D.J. Knight of Pearlman, Texas, decided to ride out the storm at home, despite voluntary and mandatory orders issued across the region.

"The windows looked like they would explode," said Knight, a mother of two. "It just wouldn't stop."

Now, without electricity and surrounded by flooded roads and wreckage, Knight wonders whether it was worth enduring a sleepless night as the storm shook her home, located about halfway between Galveston and Houston.

"I didn't think it would be as bad as it was," she said. "It was horrible."

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just how BIG is the abortion issue?

For some, the mere fact that Sarah Palin is ‘pro-life’ is a litmus test deal breaker. They would never vote for her based on that alone.

But, I am starting to wonder, how important the issue really is to voters across America?

Not that they don’t have an opinion, but WHERE it ranks in their priority scale.

If you had to classify me, I’d be 'pro-choice.’ I think abortion should be available, there are times when it is desirable for medical/hardship reasons, etc., but it pains me to think of abortion as birth control. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want it outlawed (though by most accounts Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional, which does concern me, but that’s a different topic.)

In probability theory (not that I am an expert), there is the concept of ‘relative weight’ that is certain items get more ‘votes’ than others because of how they are ‘weighted.’

So, for example, I put a higher relative weight on finding a candidate whose views align with mine on foreign policy and economic policy than on social issues, say gay marriage.

That’s not to say I don’t care about gay marriage or don’t have an opinion, but because I put a value of ‘10’ on foreign policy and economic policy and only, say, 3 on ‘gay marriage,” I am content voting for a candidate who may be against gay marriage (if I am for it), if that candidate matches up well on my highly weighted issues.

For example, my weighted priority list might look like this:

Issue Weight
Foreign Policy 10
Low Taxes 8
Abortion 5
Gay Marriage 3

With me so far?

You may not like my priorities or the “weight” I ascribe to them, which is fine and we can discuss it, but they are what they are.

On abortion, for example, I may say it’s only a 5 because I think that 80% of the country has a view similar to mine, I don’t think Roe would be overturned, I don’t see a threat of super conservative judges getting through a Democrat Senate, I think McCain is pro-choice, etc.

So, for all of these reasons, Palin isn’t a deal-breaker for me.

But, the bigger question is how everybody else weights their issues.


Is “rolling back the clock” on abortion a reality? or a scare tactic?



Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 in NYC Remembered…

I stood on the street corner at Bleecker and 6th Ave. watching the 2nd WTC Tower fall.

Here are my thoughts from that day.

New York Thoughts: What Can I Say?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Confessions of an Economic Hitman


 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a powerful autobiography that really makes you question your assumptions about American foreign policy, or at least my assumptions.

While the author clearly has a bit of an axe to grind and the need to assuage some guilt, that doesn’t mean he’s making the story up.

His basic thesis is that US foreign policy is designed to identify areas of the world where influence is needed, convince those countries through manipulated data to accept loans which can never be repaid, thereby indebting the country forever…where payback comes in non-economic form.

It’s humbling and if it’s true, it’s a bit demoralizing because it destroys the perception of America as a country that seeks to bring democracy, freedom, and prosperity to others around the world. According to John Perkins, it’s not about them, it’s only about us.



While the book probably could have been 20% shorter and was short on “ok, what do we do now?” it certainly was a compelling story.

What he failed to mention, however, is the theory of alternative universe. It’s easy to be critical of the US in a vacuum, but I don’t think the words “Soviet Union” appeared all that much, if at all.

Regardless, I’ll accept this was his life and it was true. It sheds some light on US behavior and will make you think. I won’t accept that there aren’t other factors at play, but certainly the images he paints of how our actions in the US inadvertently (or otherwise) have a dramatic effect on others can’t be minimized.

Of course, we’re all at fault. It’s like drugs and oil, if there weren’t US-based demand, many of the problems wouldn’t exist, but that’s a topic for another post.

Call out to Josh Halpern for the suggestion of the book.

Image by via Flickr

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Marketing ROI for Jehovah’s Witnesses…

The doorbell rings and two gentlemen greet me with a question.

“Do you believe we will eventually live in a world without war?” one of them asks.

(A good teaser, indeed, I am thinking.)

“Eventually?” I say. “Yes.”

“Well, you are pretty optimistic,” the man says.

At this point, I'm thinking ‘you did say ‘eventually’'”

He shows me a booklet called “A world without war.”

“Gentlemen, are you with a church or something?”

“We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses,” he replies.

“Ah, I see.”

I’m wearing a Microsoft shirt and the man asks “are you in IT?”

“I used to work for Microsoft, but now I’m a marketing consultant.”

The tone is VERY friendly, so I say to them, “you know, as a marketing consultant, I feel like I need to give you some advice. You can do with it as you please, but I am compelled to share it."

This is an area that is quite heavily populated by religiously observant Jews. From an ROI perspective, I think you are probably going to have a significantly lower than average success rate.

I love passion and commitment. That sells, so I am all in favor of you going out to sell your beliefs. More power to you. It’s just that I think you may be better off deploying your most valuable resource-your time-elsewhere in order to maximize your results.”

Yes, I said that to them exactly.

“Well, we are willing to talk to anyone."

(Not good marketing allocation, I am thinking. Poor targeting, but I can only do so much.)

"Can we leave this brochure with you?” he asks.

“You can, but odds are I will put it directly into the trash, so I think it would be a poor investment of your sales collateral.”

I don't know what the guy is thinking at this point, but my hunch is that it's not a typical interaction.

“Well, then, I will keep it with us.”

“Yes, I would agree with that conclusion."

We part ways amicably with a smile. Another client served.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Keeping Your Blogger's Voice

Blogger (service)Image via Wikipedia A longtime reader of this blog and the IgnitingTheRevolution blog told me that some of my posts over on ITR were "starting too get a bit too commercial."

In his opinion, they were too focused on positioning myself as a consultant. Not as a value-added blogger.

Now, I don't know if there's any connection, but I noticed that my readership in the first week of September dropped from the end of August.

Seemed counter-intuitive, since I figured people were on vacation and now they are back at work and reading.

Though it could be that people were not working as hard in August and thus had more time to read blogs, etc., and now, they are "doing their real jobs."

Either way, it sent me a strong message...and a good one.

Sharpen the saw time.

Blog on what I am passionate about. Stick to my voice. Do what I love to do.

The rest will follow.

Thanks for keeping me honest, guys.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thoughts on Travel

Was reviewing the 3 winning presentations on Guy Kawasaki’s blog for “best presentations in the world” and came upon this quote.
I’ve been fortunate in my day to travel a fair amount, 3 years abroad when I was young (2 in Japan and 1 in Germany).
With three kids, it’s just not as easy and I do miss it, but if I am being honest with myself, I think (for the most part), if this is the objective of travel, then (for now), I have achieved it.
Made me feel better about my (relative) lack of foreign travel over the past few years.

Image via Wikipedia

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Friday, September 05, 2008

I was talking to a friend...

I was talking to a friend of mine, 34 year old, mother of 2. She was invited to the bachelorette party of one of her high school friend and the organizer wanted the women to all share bed. So, the question is at what age do not need to share bed when you're going on a party weekend(?). listen

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Social Media Seminar September 10, 2008

More on “What If Obama Loses?”

Hillary Clinton: Pioneer, Hero, Winner


The most commented-on post in FOJ blog history has taken my thinking not forward, but backward in time.

To the Democratic primary process.

Remember the whole question of delegates vs. Super-Delegates?

As I understood it, the premise of the Super Delegates was to give the “insiders” and the “experts” a chance to provide their professional opinion in collaboration with the popular vote?

Of course, that system was flawed since no one would want to appear undemocratic.

You will remember, however, that at one point (I believe-please correct me if I am wrong), Hillary led in the super Delegate count and there was concern among some that she would get the nomination despite losing the popular vote and/or total primary vote.

So, fast forward to November.

Let’s say that Obama does lose. I like dealing in hypotheticals, after all, look at the sub-title for the blog.

And let’s say that the consensus among the Democratic Party upper echelon is that Hilary would have been “more electable.”

In other words, if the Super Delegates had weighed in, Hillary might have been the nominee.

Now, if that does happen, will it cause people to re-evaluate the primary system and perhaps send us back to the “smoke-filled rooms” of yesteryear?



Facebook on Politics…

I am fascinated by the “Web 2.0-ification” of politics. It is interesting how people choose to express themselves.

Go to Facebook. Search groups for “Obama experience” and “sarah Palin.”

Some of the ones that stood out for me are:


And on Palin (not for the faint of heart)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Obama is a Patriot…

Thing is, he may be a New England Patriot.

Just like Tom Brady and team last January, he’s expected to win. He’s on a roll. He’s had a “perfect season.”

And that could be his problem.

You see, in football (and many sports- see Alain Bernard), when you are expected to win, that’s when you get conservative (not politically, of course!), but in actions.

You stNASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 31:  Tom Brady #12 playing not to lose instead of to win.

You begin to hesitate.

You want to defend your position.

And this is where and when you are most vulnerable.

The election is Obama’s to lose. He knows it. Everybody knows it.

McCain is like the Giants. He’s got nothing to lose. That’s not to say he won’t make mistakes (maybe the Palin choice was, maybe it wasn’t), but he can afford to take bigger risks…and sometimes, yes only sometimes, those high risks mean high rewards.

In football, there’s a concept knows as the “Prevent” defense, when teams that are ahead put a lot of players deep to cover against long touchdown throws. And that’s when their opponents march down the field in a series of short steps to score.

As some say, “the only thing the prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.”

So, one thing to watch for between now and November…does Obama start playing a “Prevent” Defense?

I know I am spending a lot of time on politics these days, but hey, it’s the season.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

While Watching Palin....

"The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick."

Tonight's speech (and Rudy's verbal smackdown during the Keynote) says one thing.

"We may be behind in the polls. We may be facing an almost irrational love of Obama, but we're in it to win it."

The RNC has definitely changed from Tuesday night's softer tone. The gloves are off.

Rudy hasn't lost his New York attitude and delivers only the way he can. I hear the Notre Dame crowd yelling "Rudy! Rudy!"

Palin's got charisma, that's for sure. And, if there's one thing we've learned in this campaign, it's that charisma counts.

She sold the plane on eBay? How can you not love that?

She's teflon on the special needs issue. That is definitely going to pull some people.

I know the Democrats think it is game over, and the battle is certainly uphill, but the chickens haven't hatched yet. May be too early to count 'em.

"Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot."  Oh, man, that is classic!

The last two weeks are like watching a heavyweight fight.

Obama's speech, Palin's nomination, the media vetting frenzy on Palin, and now Palin going on the offensive. The best defense is indeed a good offense.

Why is CNN putting a "Fact" that "McCain had skin cancer a few times" on the screen? Politically motivated?

Last note: I feel sorry for the 17 year old kid who knocked up Palin's daughter. Here this horny young teenager is just doing what young boys around the world try to do...and poof, now he's on stage at the RNC. Bummer.

Water: the next Oil?

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: design crisis)

An ounce of prevention…

One of the things about home maintenance and management is that this adage proves true time and time again.

Just flushed the water heater (recommended once a year).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gift Hall of Fame Entrant...

A quick backstory for some of our newer readers.

Our primary social activity is having friends join us for lunch on the Sabbath (Saturday). To minimize hassle and maximize efficiency, we invite people over up to 6 months in advance. (Here's the strategy document explaining it.)

That craziness is mine, but the NFO has her own set of rules, including the requirement that people not bring gifts to our home.

PurellFor a while, this worked, but popular opinion was such that we had to modify that position a bit, because folks said they "wanted" to bring a gift.  Fine. The NFO still didn't want them to bring things to contribute to the meal, but I was perfectly happy to begin outsourcing the procurement of highly utilitarian items to our friends.

One of the side "benefits," if you can call it that, is a mild sense of competition among our guests to bring something memorable.  Some of the classics are listed here and others have been mentioned on the blog over time.

For example, the Lustmans gave us WD-40, the Lowensteins, a fire extinguisher.Others have 'flipped the script' on us as well.

Well, this weekend, we have a new entrant. Arguably, one of the most unique ever.

Longtime readers will know of my love of Purell, documented both here and on the Igniting the Revolution blog.

So, needless to say I was PUMPED UP to receive a wall-mountable Purell dispenser (with refills!) from Adam and Ayelet Schorr. It now hangs proudly in my front hall. Yes, you can walk into my house and immediately make your hands germ free.

But, as the saying goes, 'wait, there's more.'

Adam's sense of humor is, well, uh, sort of like mine...insofar as he kind of gets the joke, so he also brought one solitary rose with a note for the NFO (pictured) that read:
"Anytime you want to ditch Jer and run away to Mexico with me, just say the word."
His daughter was mortified. Not sure how the NFO really felt about it, but me? I freakin' loved it.

Definitely memorable. Definitely remarkable.

Also, for background, here is the requirements document and Conditions of Acceptance…(here) as well as acceptable gift items. (yes, more than a “bit” of gumption on this one), if you are ever invited.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Bankers vs. Consultants Rap Battle

 An instant classic video. Enjoy.
Forward to any of your banker/consultant friends.

The Palin Conspiracy Theory

Alaska governor {{w|Sarah Palin}}Image via Wikipedia So, the weekend has dampened some excitement about Palin. Clearly, she's vulnerable, though I do like her story a lot.

It's made me wonder if there's something larger going on here.

Stay with me for a moment.

McCain had to do something BIG to stop the post-Obama speech momentum in its tracks. With Palin's nomination, he did that. Aside from Gustav, Palin has been the topic of the weekend. Obama's speech? Ancient history.

And what did Palin's nomination do? It brought up the topic of experience, supposedly Obama's Achilles Heel. People calling McCain a hypocrite, etc.

Now, what if, just what if the following is going to happen?

First off, let's say that Palin knows that she's at risk for the state trooper investigation. Her career in Alaska is in jeopardy, so she makes a deal with the McCain team, straight out of Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

Palin is a diversionary tactic. She agrees to be the sacrificial pawn to achieve McCain's short-term objectives (stopping Obama's momentum) and in return, she would (if he's elected) get a Cabinet post or an Ambassador position. Something like that. 

Honestly, what is the next step in the political ladder for the Governor of Alaska, right?

So, with the intense scrutiny on her personal life (plus the revelation of the unwed teenage pregnancy now), she says something along the lines of "too much for my family" and then bows out.

This gives McCain a do-over and he says, "you know, everyone has been talking about experience, experience, experience and I have to, which is why I am going to nominate (fill in the blank) who has even more experience" and then his ticket becomes the ticket of experience, throwing the issue back at Obama.

It's a stretch, I know. Of course, if it happens, I'm a genius!

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The Negative on Palin...

I hate to throw fuel on  the fire of the political discussion here, but this article was one of the most effective in my mind in attacking the Palin nomination on the merits.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Time and Number of Kids: Inversely Proportional

Engraving by John Byddell of Truth, Image via Wikipedia There seems to be an inverse relationship between the number of kids you have and the speed at which they grow up.

With one kid, time moves slowly. You mark hours and minutes. To the day, you know old s/he is.

As you get more kids, the time flies and...poof.s/he is 6 months old.

Perhaps it is because you can't focuse entirely on that one kid and as a result, the time spent devoted to that one kid is, in sum, less than the time spent over the equivalent amount of time with the first kid.

For example, with one kid, you spend 2 hours per day. Over 6 months (@30 days/month), you've spent 180 hours with kid #1.

But, with kid #3, you've only spent 30 minutes per day, so over 6 months, you've spent a total of 90 hours with him, or roughly the amount you spent in 3 months with kid #1.

So, it feels like kid #3 should be 3 months, but in fact is 6 months...hence time flies.

Crazy, eh?
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