Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lapel Pin Collection...

CONCORD, NH - JANUARY 7:   A lapel pin with th...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
One of my hobbies is collecting lapel pins.

Granted, the pace of acquisition has slowed recently, but I have 643 pins from all over the world. I know where I got them, when, and the story behind them. Each one serves as a memory of a person, place, or event.

It began when I was 7 years old and my parents took us to England for the summer. Always clamoring for a souvenir, the lapel pin made the most sense. It was easy to transport, relatively inexpensive, could be found quickly (near the cash register).

So, during my travels, I picked up a lot of them and every now and then, when I am somewhere unique, I get one. Kind of a physical diary of my life (in Excel, of course).

I've also found that friends have lapel pins that are sitting in drawers being put to no good use.

So, if you'd like to have a place in my collection (you will be noted as such), let me know and send as many as you like over.

And, next time you're at my house, remind me to show the collection to you.

Now playing: Peter, Paul, and Mary - Light one Candle
via FoxyTunes

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Leash Your Damn Dog Store...Now Open

Based on feedback and popular demand, the Leash Your Damn Dog! store is now open. (First person to order gets a special prize from me).

Go ahead, support the cause (and help me figure out if this whole Cafe Press thing actually works!)

Post that inspired it was here: For Dog Non-Lovers.

GOP Undercover...

"Republican Party Elephant" logoImage via Wikipedia
There was a special election on the 21st in my county.

I went to vote because it's my duty and when I take my kids, I want them to appreciate the freedoms we have. Plus, the polling place is LITERALLY across the street :-)

Thing is, I live in Maryland, where the Democrat:GOP ratio is 5:1...very much a 'blue' state (though with this Iowa/California gay marriage thing, I guess that notion is outdated, but I digress)

It's a bit frustrating knowing that the GOP candidate has next to zero chance of winning the general election in a few weeks.

So, I'm thinking about going undercover so that I can make my vote count.

I'm a registered Republican and though I am disillusioned with their performance and general direction, I tend to think that on economic/defense issues (the ones I care about more than others), I align with them more.

(Note: I generally don't delete comments, but if you start ranting about how bad GWB was or how stupid Republicans are, I will. Thoughtful comments, ok. Criticism is always welcome, but rants are annoying--especially ones telling me how stupid I am.).

That being said, I'd like to think that I can do more to ensure that the best person is getting the job. So, since the winner of the Dem primary is going to win the election, it makes sense to vote there....either for the one that most closely aligns to me (or as the spoiler).

Instead of being the liberal wing of the GOP, I get to be the "far-right" wing of the Democratic party. Kind of extreme, eh?

And there are more benefits.
  1. the GOP will stop calling me asking for money
  2. it is far easier to turn down solicitations from causes with which you don't agree, so when the Democractic fundraisers call, I'll have no remorse at all saying no...or hanging up.
  3. I enjoy the thrill of being undercover
  4. I get to be a "cross-over" voter in a general election "over party lines." Feeds the rebel in me.
It'll also make it so that I will have been a Republican, and Independent, and a Democrat in a short timeframe...the ultimate "undecided voter."
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For Dog NON-Lovers

Dogs on LeashImage by Lisa Newton via Flickr
Disclaimer: If you are a Dog lover, I suggest that you not read the rest of this post. Click away. Come back tomorrow. If you decide to read anyway and find yourself bitter and angry at the end of this post, feeling animosity towards me that will alter our relationship forever, you have only yourself to blame.

Now, for the rest of you.

I wouldn't say that I HATE dogs. Hate is a strong word and I have met some cute ones along the way. I do dislike them, however.

As a runner, I hate when they bark at me. I don't want them coming up and sniffing me. Worse, I don't want dogs in the park near my kids (unless I personally know the owner.)

What I do hate, however, is when dog owners are walking their dogs in the park and don't have them on a leash (when that is clearly the law.)

There's a park by my house where I like to go running and when I say that EVERY 1/10th of a mile, there is a picture of a dog on a leash, I am not exaggerating in the least.

The other day, I went out for a run and 2 minutes into a it, a dog comes running up to me. The owner yells, "don't worry, he's friendly!"

I say, "That's great, but you should really have him on a leash, that is the rule, you know."

She responds, "We're usually the only ones out here, which is good, otherwise, we'd meet people like you."

"Look, you're the one being the scofflaw, don't take it out on me because you don't give a damn."

"You're right, I don't give a damn!"

About a year ago, I bought the domain (since let it expire) and was thinking it would be fun to have a site where you have t-shirts, etc. for runners so that they could just wear it and not have to say anything to dog owners who think that they are above the law.

What's more, what I don't think these dog owners think about or care about is the perception and risk that people/parents (particularly those dog non-lovers) have.

We've all heard stories of the dog that goes crazy and mauls the kid, right?

And most dog owners would say "well, that would never happen with my dog!"

And maybe they are right.

Maybe it's a 1 in a million long shot that your dog would go berserk and rip out my 3 year old's jugular.

Maybe that's an irrational fear.

But in the irrational mind (and we're all irrational, right?), you're taking that risk with bodily injury to me or my kids.

You don't want to wear a seatbelt? Want to smoke? Eat sugar all day?'re taking those risks on your own behalf. Go crazy.

But, in that 1 in a million chance where the dog does go crazy, what happens?

The dog owner feels bad...and I am injured, maimed, or grieving a death by mauling.

Maybe it's crazy, but the rule is there, so obey it.

There's an election going on today in my county (as I write this)...maybe I'll vote based on which candidate will ticket dog owners who don't use a leash. It's as good a criteria as any.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Facebook Etiquette Video

As Facebook roars past 200mm users, always good to understand the basics (in a classically delivered format). HT to Mitch Joel.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don’t Think You Can Really Network With Twitter or Facebook?

Think again.image

A few weeks ago, we were making the trip from the DC area to Chicago. For a variety of reasons, we decided to drive overnight.

With the wife and 3 kids sleeping in the back, there weren’t too many options of how to keep myself occupied for those long stretches of PA, OH, and IN.

But the phone was one of them.

Put out a few tweets and FB status updates looking for takers to “keep me company” and wouldn’t you know it, 10 people did.

I was on the phone pretty much non-stop from 10.30pm to 6am (save for the brief chat I had with the Ohio Highway Patrolman, but that is another story).

Some were personal friends, some were business contacts.

Some I had spoken to many times, others for the first time.

To give a full immersive experience of participating in the road trip, I used Google Latitude to share out my position with each caller, so they could watch me drive along the interstates in real time as we chatted.image

In the heavily social networked world, the face to face meetings take on even more value (I call it the ‘last mile’)…as does the phone. Solidifying some relationships via good ol’ 1:1 voice means a lot…for me and for them.

And it was fun.

And…without Twitter and Facebook, it NEVER would have been possible to quickly identify willing participants.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Date of Your Death…

Thanks to the great folks at MakeUseOf, the somewhat weird kick continues.

Now, we’ve got the The Death Clock, which is a steady reminder that your life isn’t endless.

Looks like I’ve only got to 12/20/2045 (roughly 1.1 billion seconds to go.)

Better get cracking!

And hey, eulogy speakers, now you can book it on your calendar.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You in 40 years….

Thanks to the great folks at MakeUseOf, I was given a glimpse (and a humbling one at that) of myself in the future.

I visited the Face Transformer to see what I might look like as a much older man.

Here’s the original

Jeremy Head shot








Here’s the future meimage (look at all those wisdom lines!)








Then, for kicks, I experimented with a few other looks including Afro-Caribbean









East Asian…









and Chimp/Caveman…image







and how El Greco would have painted it…










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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Sound of Music Hits Antwerp...

If you aren't touched by this one, well, you have no heart...

Shout-out to fellow JHU Blue Jay, Dave McClure for this one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Millionaire Matchmaker

Bravo LogoImage via Wikipedia
In one of those "have you seen this show?" conversations, one person asked me about "Millionaire Matchmaker" on Bravo.

As your faithful blogging correspondent and reviewer, I had no choice but to watch and report.

All I can say is that I am glad that

  1. it was on DVR, so I skipped commercials
  2. I was multi-tasking while watching it
Because otherwise I would have felt that I had just thrown away an hour of my life.

I thought that the recession was bringing us back to solid footing and less superficiality, but apparently it is alive and well in LA

Don't waste your time. This show is vapid.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Top 10 Reasons I Procrastinate

005  1.


(T-shirts are pretty much a commodity, but I did take notice of this one. Just thought it was really clever.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bonus Points and Avoiding Sibling Rivalry

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: A man holds his hand u...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The NFO rightly felt that redeeming bonus points for lost privileges sent the wrong message, i.e. If you have enough ‘money,’ you can buy yourself out of punishments.

So, the system has been modified and updated.

There is a base level of expected behavior that I have for each of my kids.

If the child goes “above and beyond” the call of duty (entirely subjective) by me, I will award a number of bonus points (between 1 and 5).

If the child behaves in an inappropriate manner, the child is “fined” and loses bonus points, again determined by me.

Each child keeps track of his running tally.

Now, here’s the beauty of the system.

Bonus points are not redeemed for prizes, rather they are the means through which sibling disagreements are resolved.

For example, Tonka and Paco were both playing with the paints. They both decided…at the same time, of course, that they wanted the pink colored paint.

Instead of serving as the negotiator between the two of them, I simply let the market decide by establishing an auction.

Each child may bid up to his/her maximum number of bonus points (which will be deducted, of course) for the right to the disputed item.

The best part…and the key lesson here…is that I want my kids to understand that at a certain point, even if they have the money and can afford it, they should know that it is just not worth it to do so.

In the case of the paint, Tonka had 47 bonus points and Paco had 21 (they accumulate at the same rate, but Paco is fined more often).

I instructed them to begin the bidding at 1 (since we’d never want to overpay, would we?)

Well, at 9 bonus points, Paco decided that it wasn’t worth it to spend 10, so he let Tonka have it.

She then had 38 bonus points and Paco still had 21.

Peaceful resolution.

And, it’s worked two other times  as well.

It’s far from scientific, since there are times where, after a series of fines, I might be inclined to award a higher than average number of points to Paco to balance his self-esteem or to “age adjust” and award Tonka fewer than I would Paco for the same type of “above and beyond behavior” (e.g. “the playroom looks messy, I will clean it up”), but so far it seems to be working.


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Old School Blog Diary Post...

Sometimes, as a blogger, you just need to blog in order to document for historical significance.


This is one of those times. No hard feelings if you click away on this one. This post is for my kids and me.


Phase 1

Sat. night, 10pm EST-depart Chicago by minivan (Honda Odyssey)

Sun. morning, 9:30am EST-arrive in metro DC area

Total Sleep: 0 hours


Phase 2

Sun morning-nap for 2 hours

Sun afternoon, unpack and recover after 4 days away.

Prepare for trip the next day (out and back to SFO).

Plan to go to bed at 7pm.

Phone crashes. Need  to reset, reinstall.

While repairing phone, hear the all too familiar “gurgling” in basement bathroom that indicates back-up of sewer.

Call WSSC emergency hotline (on Easter Sunday).

Crew arrives and works until 11pm (thankfully resolving issue)

Go to bed at 11.30pm


Phase 3

Wake up at 3.50am

Drive to Dulles, take flight to SFO

Nap: 2 hours


Phase 4

Spend Monday in SFO with client, see 4 friends as well.

Total time on ground: 13 hours


Phase 5

Redeye back to DC

Arrive 7am at Dulles

Nap time: 4 hours


Phase 6 (in progress)

Try to be helpful with kids, around house, and catchup on work.

Looking forward to 7.30pm crash time tonight.



60 hours of activity, 8 hours of sleep, ~6k miles, 6 states, 3 timezones, 1 crashed phone, 1 backed-up sewer drain, 3 kids.


For some, this is no big deal, but I’m not one of them.

Mortgage Mess 101

I didn't create this, but it's pretty funny. Some expletives.
Here's the link

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chutzpah Intelligence

During my most recent sauna visit, I met a retired professor of Psychology who told me that there are over 200 different types of intelligence that have been identified.

He lamented the fact that we devote most of our energies to IQ (with a little of EQ-Emotional and the very rare AQ-Adversity).

When it comes to sales, there's an old saying, "if you don't ask, you never get," and I wondered if there's a "Chutzpah Quotient."

There probably is and you probably know those people.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Timesharing Yankee Stadium...

Logo commemorating Yankee Stadium's final seasonImage via Wikipedia
A friend of mine said that he was going to go to Yankee Stadium for the home opener and try to scalp tickets.

"Seems pretty ridiculous," I told him, "unless you are prepared to shell out quite a bit of money for it."

He was complaining about the cheapest face value tickets at $70. Ever the free-marketeer, I had no problem with this.

Somehow, and I don't remember quite how, we struck upon the idea that people should be able to buy "inning shares" of a ticket.

You buy X innnings worth and have Y minutes after the last out to get out of the stadium, hand your ticket over to the next person (waiting in a pre-determined location). There are a whole slew of technology solutions available to make this happen/enforce it, etc., but we thought it would not only increase the number of fans who attended a game (thus increasing satisfaction), but most likely increase revenues for the Yankees.

If you attend a 9 inning game, maybe you are good for 1 or 2 beers, etc.

However, if 4 people "inning share" a game, each of them might buy one beer. That's a 100% increase in beer sales per seat.

For the most popular games or "being part of history games," teams could significantly increase overall stadium take.
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Of Addiction, Abuse, and Binging...

One of fun things about being a blogger is getting people's reactions and impressions to your posts weeks, months, and even years after you write it.

Also, it's fascinating to hear about the different "consumption" patterns of readers.

There are some daily, hard-core fans (love you!) and some who have told me that they check in a "few times per week."

Was talking to blogreader Aaron the other day and we discovered that "he's not addicted, but he's an abuser" (his words) because his habit is to not read for a month or two and then "binge."

Binge blogreading: the next psychological problem for therapists everywhere to solve.

What's your blogreading habit?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Web 2.0-ification of Passover

Between the Facebook Haggadah and this GPS ad (took it down), Passover has truly entered the Web 2.0 era.

Monday, April 06, 2009

It's Not Always Smooth Sailing...

Lest you think that my Never Stop Marketing consulting practice is all roses, I share this story from last week.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The NFO's Dance Performance...

Video is a bit grainy and you can't identify any individuals (so the NFO's identity remains a secret), but here's her troupe's performance from last week. HT to Mike Fox for the video.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Being Too Busy...

Last week, we got a call to attend a fundraising event on Thurs. night. On Monday, the person called again and, when I tell you that we basically had NO time to return the first call, I am not joking.

I used to not understand when people said they were "too busy" to return phone calls.

I used to think that it was a matter of organization.

Now, I see it's a matter of prioritization.

It's nothing personal, but you've got to feed/bathe the kids, go to work, and do the basics.

I couldn't believe I had arrived at that point...there were just too many things to put into each day.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Happy to Help Unemployed FOJ’s

I’ll admit it.
I am still riding the high from last week’s NY Times mention.
A friend of mine asked me… “so, how many new leads do you think you will get for your business in the next 30 days?”
I don’t know, of course, but what is really interesting…and humbling and exciting at the same time…is the number of people who have recently become unemployed or underemployed (or are concerned they will be) who have reached out asking for help.
All I can say is I am honored.
And, please, don’t hesitate if you are in that position.
I know this is a really tough time and, if there’s anything I can do to help, drop me a line and let’s chat.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Walking the 3rd Time Around…

Seems to me that as each kid develops and hits milestones, the way that I feel about it changes.

With the first, it is awe and wonder.

With the 2nd, it is a comparison.

With the 3rd, it’s a quiet appreciation.

Gianni is learning to walk and I am just really enjoying the process.