You'll see that I have a constantly updated list of
- articles I've enjoyed
- blogs I'm reading
May be an interesting way for you to find some new info, where I am acting as your filter (assuming you trust my judgment!)
May be an interesting way for you to find some new info, where I am acting as your filter (assuming you trust my judgment!)
Yes, it's a lot more running around than I'm used to.
On Monday, I was at the kids' school 4 times before noon. Details would bore you, but it was a lot of movement.
But, this isn't about me...it's about the appreciation for all of the work the NFO (i.e. Nameless/Faceless One) does on a daily basis.
Beyond that, I feel for her.
The NFO is a very active person. Loves to dance, as you know. Doesn't sit still very well.
Sitting in bed, doing nothing...that's rough.
People often remark to me about how comfortable I am sharing "personal" information online.
Or that I don't have too many "private thoughts."
All I can say after watching Growing Up Online (watch it online) is
YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET
It's a fascinating documentary (the wife of a friend of our family made it) about the world of teenagers online.
Technology is a double-edged sword and the scary stuff (Catch a Predator, etc.) sells, of course.
But, if you have kids coming of age now, even though you may not feel comfortable sharing a lot, you'll need to understand that your kids and their friends will.
You can't resist it. The world has changed too much.
You can't prevent it either.
The "ah hah" moment for me was when one kid said, (though I saw this happen in STL last month)
"I don't like my mom looking over my shoulder, so I just log on from my friends house"
At the end of the day, we all need to arm our kids with good judgment and a reason to trust us when things inevitably go wrong.
My recommendation: take the hour to watch this one.
This way, if s/he wants it, I have permission to continue. If not, I tried...
Prior to joining Microsoft, I had my own company. As a result of that experience, I always “think like an owner.” I take pride in company successes outside of my focus area. Conversely, I feel anxiety about broken processes, looking for ways to fix them.
Recently, I’ve had a few interactions with our XXXXXXX team (from multiple perspectives) that have caused me concern.
Because I think bad feedback is as important (if not more) than good feedback, I’d like to share them. I can also offer some ideas on improvement, if that’s desired.
Can you recommend where I should send these thoughts?
The Nameless and Faceless One (henceforth NFO) has a hard time asking for assistance during times of need.
At the same time, I don't judge if people don't offer. After all, you've got your own life to lead.
That being said, I am just blown away by the wonderful community we have and the numerous offers of assistance. So....
If you are naturally magnanimous and other-centric (I'm not, but NFO is) and you feel the compulsion to offer assistance, here's my request/suggestion.
If you are going somewhere common anyway let us know ( you know, the grocery, kosher butcher, hardware, Costco, Target, S&M store...places like that)
(email, phone, IM, Twitter, Facebook, are all acceptable.)
If we're here and we need something (I'm having the NFO build a store-centric list of necessary items, I will unashamedly outsource to you. If we're not, you still get credit anyway.
(I didn't say I wasn't keeping score, just that I wasn't judging!)
The propaganda war is in full swing.
I watched Outfoxed: Murdoch's War on Journalism and halfway I was like "yeah, FOX is totally biased. I get it!"
Then, I realized, "hey, wait the folks making this documentary are just as biased as FOX, but in the opposite direction. They want to destroy FOX's credibility."
So, I was more confused than ever!
Nevertheless, a solid piece that did help raise my awareness about agenda-driven reporting...and that news, if it ever really existed, is definitely dead.
What that means for "freedom of the press" is anyone's guess.
her regular ob now says there is a chance she will come home tomorrow. this is crazy. she is feeling better.
baby is apparently closer to 35 weeks than previously thought
as you can see from her board, her spirits are high. ;-)
Topline message: the nameless one is in the hospital right now and the word is, "she's not getting out until she delivers."
A few weeks ago, I was thinking about how challenging it was when Paco was born. The kid literally didn't sleep through the night for the first year of his life.
"How much harder can it get?" I thought.
After having some contractions over the course of the weekend and some other symptoms, the nameless one went to the hospital this afternoon and I got my answer...a baby that is going to come out 5-6 weeks early.
Sleep is at a premium now since I'm playing zone defense for the foreseeable future, but the docs managed to give some medication to slow things down a bit. The goal is to get to 34 weeks, at a minimum.
As I left, being a man of data, I pushed the attending on the odds. Here's his line.
"I'm going to do everything I can to prevent it tonight. I want to go at least 3 or 4 more days until 34 weeks. I'd say 60% chance of delivery this week and a near certainty within the next 2 weeks.
You know I'll keep you posted.
The BEST analysis I've read thus far of how branding must adapt/evolve to an Internet-enabled world.
Just first rate. If you are in marketing, advertising, communication, or PR (and who isn't?)...
Back on July 7th, when Jacob and Panina Licht joined us for lunch, we were sidelined (or perhaps, forechecked is the better term, given their, er her, love of hockey) by the news of Panina's breast cancer diagnosis.
The community, led by some true heroines, jumped into action and, I'm excited to say, taking advantage of technology's capabilities, used the CaringBridge service to create a customized site to help them with the mundane details of life as they faced this vicious disease.
Back during my cancer treatments, I noted that I thought offering to help with specific tasks was the best way to be of assistance. My friend, Daniel, has another suggestion.
Regardless, the support was overwhelming...the only reason I know that is b/c whenever the nameless one went to the site, all of the options for assisting were already taken.
Anyhow, it's been a long 7 months for the Lichts as they've endured surgery, chemo, and radiation. I'd spoken w/Panina on the phone a few times (usually trying to persuade Jacob to get out of the house for a bit and provide me with an excuse to drink scotch without getting a look from the nameless one), but hadn't seen her since then.
There are moments in life when you just feel the spiritual force descend upon you.
It so happens the portion of the Torah read in synagogue this morning concerned the giving of the Ten Commandments by God at Mt. Sinai, a spiritual moment, indeed.
And I felt a tremendous sense of spirituality when I turned this morning and saw Panina for the first time walk into the social hall with a big grin on her face.
With her treatments behind her and on the road to recovery, she exuded the positive lifeforce for which she is widely known and demonstrated that, indeed, "where there is a will, there is a way." Her motto, of sorts, based on her favorite show was "Panina the Cancer Slayer."
When I called tonight to make sure that a blog post about her would be ok (hey, that's progress compared to Albany, right?), the conversation turned to a feature article in US News in which she was mentioned (I stay away from 'mainstream media,' so I didn't know about it.)
In it, the author raises the question that women under 40 should, despite medical conventional wisdom to the contrary, actually go for a baseline mammogram. The odds, however, are VERY slim that any one of them has it.
Now, Panina and Jacob are graduates of the U. of Chicago, the Economics department of which is famous for its free market thinking, so I know the kind of debates that may be ok with them, may not be ok with others. (In fact, Jacob has told me once that he reads only 2 blogs, besides mine...and the bloggers are both Nobel Prize winners in Economics-not bad company, eh? Here's one of them.)
"Panina," I said. "You realize that your experience could single-handedly lead to a massive increase in US healthcare expenditures as women who are at minimal risk clamor for mammograms."
"It already has," she replied. "Most of my friends are now going."
I thought back to a fantastic book I read, the Epidemic of Care about this exact topic. It's when people demand/expect the highest level of care, regardless of the cost. I was reminded of the debate I had here on the blog about my grandmother's $3,000 a month medicine... and whether it was worth it or not...on a societal level.
"How much should society be willing to pay for the one person like you who gets detected early?"
[remember please, Panina is a unique woman who can maintain the macro view of a situation despite her obvious personal interest in it]
"Well, it's worth it for that one woman."
"Sure, and at $10 to society, no question. But, what about $1 billion or $10 billion?"
"How much is a life worth?"
"And that is the problem with healthcare..."
But, that's a topic for another day. Today we celebrate the miracles of modern medicine and the strength of human will and perseverance.
It was good to see you, Nina!
"Count and Countess von Epstein"
When I interview people for a position, I often ask them about their passions outside of work.
You know why?
I like to find people like me. People who, in their own free time, pursue activities that are similar to what they get paid to do.
On my own time (after the kids are in bed and the usual "life stuff" -exercise is in that category), you know what I do?
Now, in category #1, there are some folks I listen to more than others. There are a lot of self-proclaimed "marketing pundits" out there (I think I am one as well!) but I have a Hall of Fame.
And, in that group, are Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell.
Their book, Citizen Marketers, and their blog, Church of the Customer, are at the top of my list in terms of reorienting my way of thinking around the new age of marketing/customer relationship in which we find ourselves.
When you read a blog, you get to know the author(s) on a different level than if you read an article or a book.
I know Jackie is a football fan (Steelers). I know they moved from Chicago to Austin last year. I know that Ben likes music.
Over time, I've built a relationship with them.
So, I summoned the courage ;-) a few weeks back and said, "hey, I'll be in Austin on Jan. 15th, would you like to meet up?"
They went for it!
And, for me, at least, it was just a great experience. Having some serious 1:2 time with two of the leading thinkers where I could pose specific questions about my business and career to them and get personalized feedback...which I'd 'earned' in the sense of participation within their community.
You know how I love conversations in the sauna. You meet the best people there.
Today, Sunny, the owner of Dana Bazar in Rockville, an Indian grocery store, and I started up a chat.
He tells me that he needs to lose 20-30 pounds, but he's lazy.
Well, five minutes later, I am doing my best to pump him up and get him focused.
What's more...he's agreed that, for every day he doesn't get on the treadmill, I get a bag of "great Indian basmati rice."
The other guy in the sauna asks, "so what does he get from you if he doesn't get on the treadmill?"
Sunny answers, "he saves my life and helps prevent a heart attack!"
There you go...
Was digging through some old files and found this list of (mostly) business books I read in the 2002-2004 timeframe.
I've divided up into books that have truly changed my thinking and the rest.
If you have questions or comments on any of them, let me know
Books that have changed the way I think and Act
The rest that just weren't that memorable
One of the benefits and curses of my previous life as an entrepreneur (remember SilentFrog.com?) is that I tend to think like an owner.
I debate spending more money than I have to on travel, for example, and I get irritated when things aren't perfect.
In a small company, that can make or break you.
In a large company, with 80,000 people, it's easy to feel divorced from that sense of ownership. Yes, it's your money (as a shareholder), but it doesn't feel that way always....and when you see something broken, you can easily say, "it's not my problem" or "I can't fix everything so I just have to let it go."
But, something inside of me can't allow that.
There are many great things about working at Microsoft, but there's one element of our Human Resources process that really irritates me. As an owner, I feel the need to raise the awareness of the person responsible for it and share some of my frustration. I have a sense of ownership that I want it to be better.
On the other hand, is it worth it?
The VP to whom I write may say, "who the hell is this guy sending me a note?" or worse, I suppose.
I see it in the macro sense...if we don't fix this, it's another potential weakness.
But, in a situation where the risk outweighs the reward (risk of a handslap yes, but risk of non-response and opportunity cost of the time and reward of 'hey thanks, we're on it), is it worth it?
Paco knows that he can't come into our room (or snuggle in bed with us) until 7 am. And, to his credit, he's getting better at knowing the difference between the hour 7 and whenever he sees a "7" on the clock, as in 5:17.
So, he comes in on Sunday morning and says, "It is 7 o'clock!"
And he's right. He says:
"I want my breakfast, please!"
"Hold on," I respond, "let me get my bearings."
"Why do you need that?" he asks.
The nameless one and I can't help but laugh, so Monday AM, in an instant replay of Sunday, I figure I'll try it again.
"Let me get my bearings."
And, witty as ever, the boy responds,
"where do you think they are?"
I start laughing. He continues to prod for his breakfast.
"Hang on, I have to get my bearings," seeing how many times the joke will go on.
He walks over to the sink in the bathroom and yells,
"I FOUND THEM. THEY ARE OVER HERE!!"
One of the great joys for me is watching my kids when they don't know I'm watching.
When they are sleeping is one, but when I get to see their personalities come through...that's great.
Sometimes I'll catch them when they are playing together at home or with a play date, but usually, it is through the window of the classroom at nursery school.
Makes the sleepless nights worth it....uh, kind of.
It was one year ago today that we all saw saw Nana for the last time. How do I know?
Strange as it sounds, it is because after we left her at the hospital, we went to see Poppy and watched the end of the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship game. Thinking about it today, it was the last time we watched a game with him. And football, in that respect, is an important part of our family dynamic.
So, it was particularly meaningful when both of my brothers, one sister, my dad, niece and 2 kids joined me today to watch the AFC championship game at my house.
We had plenty of food, drink, and conversation. (We're not so crazy that we won't allow talking during the game...plus w/DVR, who cares?)
The kids were playing, we were chatting about life, politics, family, and more. During halftime, we watched some family videos and looked at some pictures.
An emotional day, encompassing the circle of life.
Plus...who doesn't love games that occur below 20 degrees?
By the time I got to the gate for my flight to Houston, the seats immediately around it were mostly occupied.
I went across the way and took a seat there, noticing as I did, that the flight departing from that gate was also going to Baltimore, only it was scheduled for 2 hours later.
Soon after I got there, the first announcement came over the PA
"We have mechanics on the plane right now. We will update you in 20 minutes."
I saw a man approach the desk of the gate for the later Baltimore flight.
He looked familiar. I knew where I had met him, but his name, at the moment, escaped me.
As I stared at him, I started listening to his conversation with the gate agent.
"I want to switch to this flight to Baltimore. If they aren't going to tell us the situation until 6pm, that means we're not leaving until 6.45pm, at the earliest. This flight is at 7.15pm and it's guaranteed."
"Brilliant," I thought. The old "bird in the hand" adage at play.
I approached him and after a minute, Charlie and I had reconnected. Equally important...he saved my travel experience home!
And to continue the bird analogy..."two birds with one stone." Got to reconnect with a first-rate technologist AND got home earlier. For all I know, that other plane is still in Houston.
"Jeremy, I want to be like you when I grow up."
"Because you're so cool."
But, if you take a look at what Robin is up to, you'll see that the note should have been written the other way. She's pretty cool and maybe I can reach that level!
Despite some big names (Liotta, Garcia, Affleck), Smokin' Aces didn't do it for me.
Yes, there was a nice plot twist at the end that made it intriguing, but I felt that the story development was just a bit too cliche.
They relied way too much on vulgar language and violence and the concept (mafia-related assassination) is just pretty worn.
Am I too jaded and cynical?
It's funny when you think about something and then it happens.
On the way to the airport this morning, talking to my cabbie (writing this on the plane so no link), I was reviewing some of the trips I've taken for work over the past few weeks.
On my way out of Fargo, I made a point of saying that I wanted to run into the Roger Maris museum (one of the town's big/few attractions). I saw some of the eyes roll among my colleagues..."why such a big deal?" they must have been thinking.
The reason why is that you need to make your travel memorable and the way to do that is through connecting with the local people and taking advantage of the unique, local experiences.
As you might imagine, I'm a big plane-talker, so when I run into some solid seat companions, I feel blessed. It's not unusual for me to meet someone on a plane and still be in touch w/them years later (right Carol? :-)
Well, today, I had the good fortune to meet Molly and Dino, two Australians taking a month-long trip through the US.
Aussies are almost always affable folks and we've had a good chat about their perceptions of American culture. Plus, I got to share some of my passion for US history and sports with them.
Love to expand my frame of reference and perspective (and welcome new members to FOJ as well!)
They are headed to Las Vegas, LA, and SF in the next two weeks, so if any of you want to help out two travelers (who are afraid of driving in the US-particularly in LA (Jan 20-24), let me know!)
Updated: big call out to Dan who's offered to be an LA host/guide for them! Love it.
One of the things to which I don't aspire as a father is to be viewed simply as someone who hands out punishments. I also don't want to be remembered for the times when I lost my temper. That's not the way to build a relationship with your kids.
But, last night, I was pushed to the brink...
Beginning at 2:30am until 6:30am, Paco and Tonka were both WIDE awake. And I'm not just talking about sitting in their room, trying to fall asleep.
The "Inmates were running the asylum."
They turned on lights, were running around, laughing hysterically, started singing the ABC's, and were dancing. It was like a rave that kicked off at 2.30.
On the one hand, they were cute, no doubt, but the implications of the total lack of sleep were huge.
First, I went in with requests.
Then with threats (no dessert, no TV/DVD, removal of favorite toys/blankets/books). Take the Machiavellian approach.
I was frustrated. My temperature was rising. I was exhausted. I could see why people's fuses were lit and then blown.
I had NO idea what to do.
I gave up on that strategy and tried a collaborative approach.
"Guys, I need you to help me help you understand that when you are tired tomorrow morning, you are going to have a really rough day..."
Nope, that didn't work.
Eventually, we gave up, closed the door and just hoped it would die down.
Every 15 minutes, someone was running in with an announcement like:
"I found this on the window!"
"Where is my Elmo book?"
"I need to go Potty."
"Can we jump on the mattresses?"
If this were a foreign country, some dictator would have declared martial law.
Then, Tonka says, "I need help with my tush!"
I get into the bathroom and things are about to go from bad to worse.
Tonka's standing there without her pajamas and Paco has dumped an entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet.
He loves to flush, so we were literally seconds away from a full-on bathroom floor.
I felt like James Bond with a timer descending to zero and I pulled his hand from the lever and then, no choice, pulled a huge wad of paper out of the toilet.
"Yeah, this is all I need at 4am."
The only thing missing was a disco ball and some techno. It was so out of control and the perfect storm of fatigue, fatigue, and oh, fatigue had collided. I had no more runway.
Fortunately, the nameless one saw what was happening and intervened at 7am to help get them started with their day (or should I say the post-party aka school?)
There's no question that one of the greatest moments in parenthood is when your kids are young like this, but last night is one of those that falls outside of that experience.
I really enjoyed Train Man: Densha Otoko on a lot of levels.
It took me back to Japan, to many of the things I enjoy (or find intriguing) about the culture.
The politeness, the formality, the neon of Tokyo, the quirky mannerisms, and the structure.
At the same time, it had a surprising level of candor and brought a solid Western-like love story to the screen albeit in a uniquely Japanese way.
I thought the acting was very good and the script even better.
For those of you who have lived, traveled, or just want to go, I'd recommend this one.
The first movie I ever saw with my wife (3 months after we got married) was Shrek.
So, our latest date night (yes, we were at home) was the third installment (Shrek the Third) in the series.
I'd rank it 2nd.
Cute. Some funny moments. A few over the top cliches/parodies (which work very well). Decent, but the standard is so high from #1, which is too bad.
Voiceovers are great as are animations, of course.
I vowed then that I would keep my stuff in order so that any future kids (or I) could find the important stuff quickly.
This probably comes as no surprise to you.
The system isn't perfect, but it's good.
Following my visit to the Jacobson's, I was looking for a particular picture (more on that later, I hope) and started looking through some of my old scrapbooks.
I've found some good stuff and hope to scan and upload over time.
This one is related to the 979 story.
Just another peer into my world, eh? :-)
I like learning from my mistakes (if they are, of course), but I prefer to learn from others :-)
I've definitely excelled, at times, at making the inappropriate remark (see here), but today I got to overhear someone else.
One of our good friends, Tamar Lustman, has single-handedly driven the vision, fundraising, and execution of a new playground for kids at our synagogue.
Whether you think it is a good idea or not, her ability to get things done is impressive.
Today, as her husband and I were walking down the steps to the post-services reception, we overheard some of the folks behind us.
One of them looked out the window and said:
"That's all you get for $40,000? Pretty bad!"
I just patted Tamar's husband on the shoulder and said, "I guess you can't please all the people all the time, eh?"
Good lesson...you never know who is listening. Or, as Tamar said to me later, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
I love when I am humbled by a 6 year old. Keeps it real.
During a great lunch at the Kushnir household, I was discussing DeBeers and the diamond industry (my new favorite topic, right?) and talking about the size of the industry.
"Yeah, those De Beers guys make a bazillion dollars as a monopoly."
At that point, Samuel, the 6 year old chimes in and says:
"There's no such number as a bazillion! It's a billion."
"You're right," I said, "what number comes next?"
"A trillion!" he shouted.
"Ok, tough guy, what's next?" I asked.
"That's easy," he replied. "A trillion and one!"
The culture of carniphilia in my community has been documented before.
And this weekend, I attended what has, I believe, become the third component to the "Kemp Mill Carnivore's Triple Crown."
Jared Minsk is the originator (as far as I know) of the "Shalom Busser."
(This is a cute play on words. Busser is hebrew/yiddish for meat. Shalom is Hello/Welcome [at least in this context], but it's real genius is that it plays on the concept of the Shalom Zachar.)
Anyhow, Jared regaled his guests with a solid cholent, beer-batter double fried meatballs (aka heart-attack on a plate) and some nice and spicy Jambalaya.
Where I take pride in the development of this third component of the Triple Crown is how Jared has worked me in my role as self-appointed marketing consultant.
We worked on branding (focusing on the name), positioning (consistent time of year), consistency, and repetition.
I think he nailed it. Well done, Jared.
Note: The other two are Gadi's Monday Night Football (opening and closing night) and Mosh's 4th of July BarBQ.
The intersection of two of my favorite things...football and technology.
So good that I am copying wholesale from Church of the Customer Blog
If you're a football fan, you haven't escaped seeing the YouTube-like Coors Light commercials that employ fake fans holding their cans of Coors (in a most improbable way) and ask dumb questions of actual coaches.
The gimmick is that the spots splice in the coaches' answers from their actual post-game news conferences. Funny premise, but most fell short of actual humor.
The commercials have succeeded, though, in inspiring a bevy of online copycats, precisely because it is an ode to amateur culture--mashing up actual footage with fake footage for humor. One of my faves features Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. The Pittsburghese is dead-on funny.
Not a bad blueprint for future TV ads: pay homage to amateur culture, and amateur culture will return the favor, spreading word of mouth.
Amateur ad featuring Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy [RSS readers click here.]
BTW, how GREAT was that Green Bay game in the blizzard?
Over and over again, I am reminded that it is the little details that make up a great (or bad) customer experience.
I ride with the same cabbie to/from the airport for every trip. He is punctual, calls me to confirm, knows where i live, is flexible if my plans change, engages in good conversation, helps with the bags, his car is very clean, and he makes sure that it smells nice.
Anyone can drive a cab, but provide a good experience and people will keep coming back.
And it is profitable for him. I feel connected and tip him accordingly.
If you read this blog, you know that my marketing hero is Seth Godin.
Ok, ego boost over.
Back to reality. His post was better anyway.
Microsoft won't be the same
Now, if we at MSFT can take this attitude and ability to laugh at ourselves and extend it out through all parts of our organization, I think the relationship we have with customers and partners will be revolutionized.
Just checked out of a hotel in Bellevue, WA.
On the receipt, there's an email address for "Quality Assurance" and feedback.
A few other places during my stay, I saw them ask "how was your stay?"
A better question:
Would you stay here again?
The airlines, for all of their shortcomings, seem to always end with the idea of "We hope your travel plans include us next time." A start, indeed, but the key question is: will you come back?
For me, for this particular hotel, the answer is NO.
ask your customers if they would buy from you again.
ask your partners if they would partner with you again.
ask your employees who've left if they would work for you again.
Watched the speeches of both Obama and Clinton tonight.
When I speak of marketing today, I emphasize that we are in an era of authenticity, of conversation, and of relationships.
The era of sanitized communications is over. We're fatigued of the BS.
So, when I watch Obama and Clinton, I am really taken aback by their differing styles.
Obama is passion. He's authentic. He speaks of a unifying theme, "Yes We Can." He talks from the heart.
Clinton...I just don't get it. It's all so organized, so laid out, so feeling of artificial.
Rush Hour 3 was one of the DUMBEST movies I've ever seen. DON'T waste your valuable time. Even the homages to the Godfather didn't save it.
As for Hot Fuzz, it's refreshing to get a taste of British humor every now and again and the caricature of American movies (Bad Boys II and Point Break--neither of which I've seen in full) was actually entertaining.
You get a feel for the odd sense of the British comedy, some witty ideas and unexpected twists, and some so over the top ridiculous moments that it can't help to be anything but enjoyable.
On another travel related note, why is it (once again) that the more money you pay for a hotel (tonight I'm at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue) the more challenging it is to do the basics like Internet (took me 20 minutes and a call to tech support to get on) and exercise room (outside and across the street).
Last month I stayed at Embassy Suites. A bit farther out, but it had everything I needed.
Gadi writes in (slight paraphrase) today:
I was inspired by your grandfather while watching the Redskins this weekend.
Every game is a bonus game…
He was referring to my Poppy's famous quote after his WWII experience:
Gadi-thanks for the tribute. Poppy (a big football fan as well) would have appreciated.
I was glad to see this series redeem itself in Ocean's Thirteen.
I am a junkie for technology and intrigue, so I'm inclined to like these anyway, but Ocean's Twelve was a big disappointment. Nice to see that they got it right (though, as is usually the case, the original is the best).
There were some melodramatic liberties/excesses with this one, but I think those who have seen the other 2 would get it without getting put off.
A huge amount of starpower and some clever moments, so 3 stars.
Well, Hollywood's version (Blood Diamond) has done nothing to persuade me away from that stance. And I commend them for taking on the subject in a, I thought, brutally honest way.
Di Caprio did a phenomenal job in his role as a Zimbabwean/South Afrian smuggler/mercenary and the supporting cast was really first rate.
The violence was gruesome and the story heart-wrenching, but hey, if you want to go buy your "rock," well then, at least you should have an idea of the damage you are inflicting on bodies and lives on the other side of the world. At least you can't claim ignorance and you can display your susceptibility to the power of marketing with full knowledge of the implication of your decision.
If there were a tenth as much outrage about diamonds as there were about global warming or Iraq war or AIDS, we'd be a hell of a lot better off.
Great movie that connects with you and builds awareness at the same time.
And, sell those diamonds! (Not joking)
you need to leave your bag in this pile at dulles and then ONE guy loads it through a security scanner.
It is mayhem and most people are saying 'there is NO way i will see this bag.'
There has got to be a better way.
"Tonka, what was your favorite part of the museum?"Ouch.
"I didn't like anything at all."
I have to say, I like it.
It's pretty quick and does the job on most clothes in a nice way.
There's no question I've saved $ on dry cleaning and hassle.
The travel steamer, however, is a piece of junk. They should have stuck with what they did well.
When my cabbie picked me up at BWI last night, we started talking about the Iowa results (I didn't know what had happened).
He began asking about what it all meant and how the process worked.
It was a great feeling to help him understand primaries, delegates, conventions, etc.
Here I am expanding democracy :-)
So mornings you wake up and you're calm.
Some you are not.
It started off because I was freakin' exhausted.
I've got a nagging cough that I can't kick and which kept me up all night.
Then, the car dealer calls.
I dropped off the car on Wed. (had my cabbie pick me up at the dealer) for an oil change. Idea was to have them do the work and I'd pick it up Friday morning.
Well, apparently, the guy called my office number (which I never check) and not my cell (I was in Fargo, ND remember?).
So, I didn't find out until today that my $20 oil change had become a $750 set of repairs including a tire with nail in it, lightbulbs that were burned out, and some belt that wasn't working.
Now, I love Fitzgerald, the dealer, so I have no reason to assume they are being dishonest (though I was irritated that the guy didn't call my cell number-which he had).
And, of course, it's cold and oil has hit $100/barrel. You know how I feel about that.
All of this led to a greater than usual money anxiety AM for me.
Not the most intellectual flick (by a longshot), but Superbad has its moments.
If you can suspend belief and revert back to your teenage years, it's pretty funny.
If you can't, well then, you're going to feel like you wasted 2 hours of your life.
Apparently made by the producers of the 40 year old virgin, I thought it was 1 notch up on the scale, but despite my friend who said:
"I have 3 movie recommendations for you: Superbad, Superbad, Superbad,"
I'd have to disagree.
Very much a mood film and a "it depends on your state of mind."
According to weather.com, the temperature in Fargo, ND right now is 13 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill of minus 6.
I am staying at the Hotel Donaldson, which has a roof "sky prairie."
On the "sky prairie" is an open-air hot tub.
You guessed it....
Harkening back to the old Polar Bear club days, I sat in it for a good 5 minutes.
I feel invigorated in a major way.
Body was warm on a windy, snow-swept roof with nothing but the midwest skies above.
I loved sharing the data with people about my investments through Covestor (particularly since I was beating the market by 1.5%--yeah, I know it's the long haul that matters)
Anyhow, I've run into a bit of a conundrum.
I added a layer of security to my ETrade account (the digital ID token-why not?) which is pretty cool (see here), but what that means is that my Covestor account can't access E*trade (which is good since I guess it proves that it works).
The downside is I can't share my data anymore....at least for now.
Hey, our kids don't know it's New Year's Day. They aren't going to sleep in, so why be exhausted?
Instead ,we rang it in with style with a sumptuous brunch at the Guggenheim home.
Some Jewish authorities say that celebrating a secular 'holiday' like New Year's isn't appropriate.
Our host, however, cited his mother, quoting a Chassidic rabbi who said:
"If people are wishing each other Mazal(good luck), why wouldn't we join in?"
Thanks to Ari Goldberg, I am hot again.
"You know, we have a friend in common, Joel Haber. I haven't seen him since High School, but I found him because I saw he was a friend of yours on Facebook. I looked at his profile and I see that he is
- supporting the WGA strike
- interested in being a writer
As it turns out, I know someone who is pretty high up in the WGA, so I brokered the introduction."
There, my friends, in a nutshell is the power of Internet-based social networking.