12.17.2008

Have a Wicked Wonderful Winter


I'm not sure how to make the winter solstice funny, but you need a sense of humor at this time of year to recognize and appreciate the season's inner beauty. Here's something to chew on between the Yankee Swap parties and the fruitcake re-gifting:

If summer were a Broadway musical, it would be light, fun and with plenty of bounce, like "Grease" or "Hairspray" or even "The Producers". Learn, laugh, love and light.

If spring were a Broadway musical, it would retain its bounce but have a positive message, like "Rent" or "Spring Awakenings" (duh) or even "The Lion King". New beginnings, new outlooks, new clothes, new adventures.

If fall were a Broadway musical, it would be big and splashy, colorful and celebratory, heavy at times but joyous in others. Think "West Side Story" or "Chicago" or even "Gypsy". Wild and wonderful, memorable and photogenic.

Winter's got its own show producer, and he's not returning calls right now. Winter is thought-provoking, a time to turn inward and reflect. A time to appreciate and plan and clean out the junk drawer, literally and figuratively.

What musical are you thinking about this winter? I'm thinkin' "Carousel" or even "A Chorus Line". Substantive, sexy, secretive, subtle at times, show-stopping as well.

Take a moment to pause, reflect, praise, appreciate, and look forward while learning from your own year's history. I love this season because it is the perfect time for closure and purging of the old while welcoming the new. I love that this year brings me a new organzational system for my clients, a new political administration, and even a new computer and billing system. (Say hello, sparkly new iMac!)

These lyrics from the winter-esque Wicked, ("For Good") speak to me louder than Ethel Merman in "Annie Get Your Gun". Hope they inspire you to great things in '09.

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them and we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.

10.30.2008

It's dog show time! Raise the WOOF!


With Halloween planning behind us and 98 candy bars to sneak from my kids before Christmas, my thoughts turn to one of my favorite clients, an event I've been working on since I was a wee PR agency pup back in 1991: the Bay Colony Dog Show.  

One of the nation's largest American Kennel Club shows, this doggie diva-filled haven for pooch worshippers is exhausting and exhilarating and really, really eclectic.  If you know not of dog shows, over 2,000 purebred dogs compete each day for "Best In Show" honors, and you can see dogs that look like your rasta-lovin' friend Jamal, your snooty Paris-Hilton wannabe cousin Ashley, and your big, fat, slobbery, lovable Uncle BEEP (censored to protect whatever familial relationships I have left).  

I love to holiday shop for the coolest, kookiest doggie items - stuff you would expect to be there, like professional grooming supplies, but also stuff you never even knew dogs had to have - like a rhinestone pin that says "Best Bitch," or a doggie leather jacket with "#1 Stud" on it. You can't find holiday presents like that at Macy's or Marshalls, that's fur sure. 

And if you haven't seen Chris Guest's "Best in Show" trot like a long-legged Weimeraner to Blockbuster this minute).  Run, don't trot.  "God loves a terrier..."  Hysterical.  It's on YouTube... check it out.

Fanciest title I've ever earned: Chief Dream Officer

Yesterday I completed training and became my own "Chief Dream Officer". I am dreaming to do more writing, perhaps writing the next Great American Novel (or at least something worthy of reading in the bathroom).  I love writers who have a keen sense of observation, and then apply their sense of humor to let others know what they find interesting in life.  I'm going to set up a writing desk - apart from my work area - and get to it, gosh darn it.  

What is your dream?  How can you find more joy in life? What makes you get up in the morning beyond adult obligation and the chemical lure of caffeine?

10.24.2008

Fall fever


Apples and festivals and crafts, oh my!  Fall in New England is simply stunning, nothing short of miraculous.  The colors are breathtaking, the farms are bustling, the people are bundled in new sweaters and still-stiff jeans.  I missed you, beloved wool mittens and furry boots and my slightly flamboyant striped scarf... welcome back.  Field trips to the corn maze, the smell of wet leaves, picking out the "perfect" pumpkin...

Take a deep breath and breathe in all the glory that fall has to offer. Now get back to raking.

8.05.2008

Are you ready for some football?


It's the first week of August. Some families are going on vacation. Other families are beating the "I wanna go see Space Chimps again" blues by taking "staycations" and camping in their backyards.

Me? I am getting indoctrinated into the wide world of sports. Pop Warner football (for my son) and cheerleading (my daughter), to be exact. Somehow I got suckered into being the team mom, too... and it ain't no "bring oranges and call for pizza at the end of the season" job.

Thoughts? Advice? Stories of your own about the joys of Pop Warner? Share 'em by clicking "comment". I could use words of wisdom...

7.14.2008

Breathe in the Fresh Air, Help the Fresh Air Fund

I'm outside these days as much as possible, relaxing on my deck, getting fresh air and enjoying the suburban life with my kids. Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury.

The Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer vacations to New York City children from disadvantaged communities since 1877, and there are 200 children who need to be placed with host families for this August. Since all prospective host families need to be screened and vetted by the end of July, these 200 children may miss out on an invaluable experience.

Please host a child or help us get the word out that we need folks who can welcome a child from the city into their homes next month, especially families who want older children and boys.

Email angie@freshair.org or call 1-800-367-0003 -- ask for Angie. If you want to help but don't live in these areas - BLOG about this program, tell your friends, recommend someone, or DONATE.

Sometimes just doing something good is a breathe of fresh air in itself.

7.07.2008

Pecha Kucha: Chatter + Design = Precision


Okay, I admit it: I adore PowerPoint. I like the instant slide show capability without the overhead slides, and that I can use it instantly for work or for personal stuff like photo slideshows.

But I get wordy. I use too much copy on one slide. My longest presentation was sixty slides... most of those were boring.

And then along came Pecha Kucha. It sounds a bit like the Latin number in "Dirty Dancing." No, wait, that's the pachanga. Nobody puts PowerPoint in the corner...

Pecha Kucha means "chatter" in Japanese, and is the art form of creating slide presentations that are 20 slides, 20 seconds each, no more than six minutes and 40 seconds. Less is more, get off the floor, we'll hear no more. I have corporate clients whose introductions are longer than that, all backed by one slide titled, "Introduction".

Get down with the PPT at parties in your city where you can experience the fun that is Pecha Kucha. Don't forget your laser pointer. Now off to my pachanga lesson.

6.24.2008

RIP George Carlin


Dear George,

I'm sorry to hear the news. You made me laugh and you taught me my first swear words. You taught the world how to look through a different lens, celebrating our differences and our idiosyncracies with wit and charm.

Your "Seven Things You Can't Say On Television" lives in infamy, and your commentary on everything from the drug culture to pop culture icons will be your legacy. Your scraggly beard, hippie style, and "don't trust authority" messaging shaped a generation of wanna be's. Your comedic timing and flair shaped a generation of comedians who are spending a lifetime trying to emulate you, some with more success than others. You once said, “If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten.” You did that, my friend.

I'll miss your hilarious HBO specials. Your naughtiness. Your lewd jokes and your laugh out loud books. Your skinny, expressive, passionate, bad self. I read you don't believe in heaven or hell, so wherever you are, peace be with you and the pork rinds you love so.

Love,
Julie "the disappointed idealist" Dennehy

P.S. Some of my favorite famous Carlinisms. Pure genius.
“Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.”

"When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?”

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.”

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”

5.29.2008

Tips on tipping your perspective sideways


Ever feel like you are in a routine and can't break out of it?

Grab your pickaxe! Here are a few ways to shake up your day:

1. Move your desk or bed around. See things from a different angle.
2. Take pictures of strange things on your digital camera. Patterns on a table, blades of grass, the sky, your backyard gate, the kids' favorite toys. It makes you unfocus on the big stuff and see the little things for what they are.
3. Write down one thing that you really appreciate. Repeat daily. Share with someone. Or not. Your choice.
4. Pick a "word of the day" and find out what it means. Make it something funny, like platypus, as a bonus.
5. De-clutter a closet, and revel in found objects like a missing bag of M&Ms. Run around showing people like it was a long-lost treasure. Found objects are cool.
6. Try a new flavor of tea or coffee and really savor the flavor. Smell it and try to remember it for another day.
7. Go outside and take a few deep cleansing breaths. Think about someone who can't do this simple task as easily as you can. Do it once more, for that person.
8. Say a simple prayer and imagine a greater being guiding you through the day, allowing you to make a mistake and putting a gentle hand on your shoulder when you need it. (Or a not-so-gentle kick in the butt if you need that instead.)
9. Take a moment at the end of the day to enjoy a snuggle with a dog, spouse/partner, kid, warm blanket, bowl of warm soup. You've earned it.
10. Before you sleep, take a breath and scan your body. Appreciate any positive changes, and accept your aches and idiosyncracies for what they are... a sign you are alive and well and living with gratitude.

Namaste!

5.25.2008

Panda Ponderings: suggestions on how to grow the population of pandas


I think pandas are the most fascinating creatures on earth. More than whales. More than the elusive giant squid. More than a group of guys out on a Friday night looking for hook-ups. I figure if pandas are a critically endangered species, that could possibly be God's way of saying, "Hey... I screwed up. I've done it before, look at the platypus. No re-do on this one... the panda's pretty much a goner."

Why? It's not because pandas have entered the world of professional panda wrestling. It's because other than poaching, they just can't... um... do the wild thing. 

Apparently, and it's highly documented on the Internet, pandas are cute even after last call but are not so good at the actual "hooking up" part. A bamboo dinner by candlelight, a bit of nuzzling, and a roll in the shrubbery, but that's about it for most panda couples. Breeding programs actually use (cover the kids' eyes RIGHT NOW) panda porn and Viagra to seal the deal, but it's not easy. I think it's simply a case of picky pandas, like some friends of mine. I can picture a panda saying, "Uh UH. No way. Not interested. I'd rather go back to China and chase down my own bamboo than get with HER. She's got mascara circles around her eyes and stinky, dirty feet. NOPE. Not gonna happen..." You get the idea.

Here's my suggested breeding program. Make two compatible pandas sit down with their mother-in-laws separately, groomed neatly and with a sprig of fresh bamboo as a peace offering. [Tell the MILs in advance that it's either now or never... explain the whole critically endangered thing.] Give the MILs fresh bamboo as a bribe. The pandas will be pleasantly surprised at the MILs sweet smile and gifts, and reluctantly agree to give the thing with Ming Ming another try because heck, they are both not as bad as his panda friends told him last night and it could get worse. He'll think about his friend Soon-Yee and his MIL... she beat him with a shovel...

We all know that with a little bribery and educated third-party intervention, things will work out and the panda population will get back to the point where millions of Chinese can poach them again and sell their pelts on handbags on Canal Street for $99.

It's God's little way of keeping the universe AND the economy in balance, and fashionistas in something new and controversially fresh each season.

5.21.2008

Teddy Kennedy: Family. Grace. Grit.


Big news here in Beantown: Senator Ted Kennedy, an icon here in Massachusetts, suffered from a seizure this week that turned out to be an inoperable malignant brain tumor. He's going home today, but the buzz around the Bay State is palpable. The coffee shops and school bus stops are filled with "I met Teddy once..." stories, sprinkled with a healthy dollop of reminiscing about Ted's committment to his family, to the Cape Cod Seashore, to the Bay State, and to lower/middle class families everywhere, as well as the labor party and blue collar workers who love him (warning: my Democratic roots are showing).

Teddy is a great reminder that even in politics, no human is perfect (Camelot is one of the great mythical legends). But even flawed and human, this imperfect person made a difference using politics as his platform. Ted's charisma, strength and fierce loyalty are like nothing we've seen... even Hilary appeared on TV last night singing his praises even though Ted endorsed Obama back before the Hollywood A-listers knew how to spell his name.

Hang in there, buddy. If anyone can fight a brain tumor, it's you with the backing of your family, friends, and constituents.
He epitomizes my favorite quote by Mother Teresa:
"We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love."

5.09.2008

T-shirts: the fabric of our pop culture


I love retro, funny, cool t-shirts and "flair" pins on Facebook. They are like mini trend spotters, pinpointing what people are talking and laughing about around the water cooler at work or at happy hour, and slapping it on something affordable.

T-shirts - especially funky retro looking ones - have been a favorite of mine since high school. The funnier and more clever, the better. They instantly communicate, "Hey! I've got a sense of humor! Do you? Cool! Tell me why you get this joke, and I'll buy you a candy bar!" And that, my friends, is how the seeds of friendship can be sown... as simply as through the fabric of a great t-shirt.

Here's a website called Snorg Tees that has some of the funniest ones I've seen in a long time. Graduation gift? Father's Day present for a hipster dad? Gift for yourself for still going to the gym after the New Year's honeymoon is over? Whatever. Make yourself smile for less than twenty bucks.

4.24.2008

method to my madness


Ok, here's my "cleaning confession": I love organizing my stuff, but hate cleaning. Especially under beds and on top of shelving and ceiling fans.

I have had the pleasure of representing method and the "people against dirty" who market a great line of eco-friendly household cleaners. I learned a lot about the toxic chemicals under my sink, and tossed them on Earth Day in favor of products friendly to my kids, dog and cats.

Here are few things I learned over the past few weeks:
-- The right mop can do wonders.
-- The right cleansers can do wonders.
-- Aerosol cans (air freshners et al.) are a flammable gas, and are bad.
-- The caps on laundry detergent are too big. If you can smell it on your clean clothes, you've used too much.
-- Look for toys that are PVC-free. (PVC = a triangle with a 3 in it)
-- For baking, silicone beats all, especially the PFOA chemical used in nonstick coating cookware.

And there's more, but you'll have to visit the website. I have to go clean my kitchen floor... the dog just had his morning slobber.

What's your cleaning confession?

4.21.2008

Boston Marathon [Shopping]


Reality check, folks: not everyone runs, or cares about running, or even enjoys running across a mall parking lot. Some people, like me, prefer walking at a slow leisurely pace or at best, a brisk stride.

Today in Boston, we are whipped into a athletic short-wearin', number flauntin', spandex frenzy. Today is the day of the famed Boston Marathon. Some call it Patriots Day, and they didn't mean the New England Patriots football team. Some call it a state holiday and a day off from work. Some call it...

An excuse to go shopping.

The smart stores have sales attracting the chubby ladies to forget about the sweat pouring down the runners' backs as they muscle their way up Heartbreak Hill. To me, Heartbreak Hill is the part of the store where you are the furthest from the bathroom and you've got a hot clearance rack in front of you... you sprint to the ladies room and back before that other Russian woman moves in on the merchandise. Shopping to me is a sport, a strategy game, and a treasure hunt all rolled into one.

If you'd rather be sprinting and pouring cups of water over your head, that's your choice. I'll be the one licking an ice cream cone at the finish line (about a block from Marshalls), smiling and glancing at my new Kate Spade spring purse.

I love Marathon Monday.

4.14.2008

Let the games begin... it is Red Sox season!

4.07.2008

Bulldoggin' it


Now I've done it. I've gone over the edge into the crazy, obsessive, fur-wearin', slobberin' world of dog ownership. My new pedigreed poochie, Major Monty, is a big marshmellow of an English Bulldog and will be a constant source of humor in our already chaotic two-kid, three-cat household. He snores, burps, growls, even farts better than anyone you'll meet in the public areas of your local nursing home. He's a lover, not a fighter, but I'd put his stubborn streak up against that of John McEnroe, Jack Nicholson and Madonna, any day.

Got a bulldog too? Email me or visit me on Facebook... tell me what your "bully" is up to.

I can't wait until summer vacation...


4.03.2008

Giving you The Finger


From PROMO magazine online's PROMO Xtra
by Brian Quinton, April 3, 2008:
Nestle's name-change prank teased new Butterfinger comedy channel on Yahoo!

Nestle Foods said it has shaken off the associations of clumsiness of its Butterfinger brand and re-named itself simply “The Finger.” The re-launch was supported by a distribution of 200,000 free “Finger” bars at 7-Eleven stores in 10 major markets.


The news was actually a gimmick to promote the April Fool‘s Day launch of the branded Butterfinger Comedy Network on the Yahoo Video portal http://ButterfingerComedyNetwork.yahoo.com. And one of the first clips entered on the network was the reaction of people on the street to the purported name change. The verdict: nine against, for obvious reasons of taste, and one for, because “you eat it with your fingers.”

The launch of the comedy channel is being supported with Butterfinger ad takeovers of the front page of Yahoo Video, brand ads on the Yahoo Messenger IM service and new interactive ads across the network of Yahoo content sites.

Visitors to the channel Web site can also upload videos of their own April Fools’ Day pranks or enter their ZIP code too find a nearby participating 7-Eleven that still has stocks of the free “Finger” bars. If stores in their neighborhood are out, a link on the site will take them to eBay Giving Works, where a limited number of the bars are being auctioned off to support a youth charity in Los Angeles.


“Butterfinger is a brand that truly celebrates clever, witty humor,” Nestle Confections spokesperson Tricia Bowles said in a statement after the joke was revealed. She added that the prank was “just a taste of what’s to come on this newly launched entertainment site.”

The Butterfinger Comedy Network on Yahoo currently offers about 500 clips, in categories from outtakes and animation to user-generated clips and commercials.

The Butterfinger deal is part of a Yahoo initiative to expand its network of themed video content by letting advertisers become exclusive co-branders of that material. Yahoo currently draws about 36 million monthly viewers to its video content. By contrast, Google-owned YouTube received 80 million unique viewers in January 2008, according to data from comScore. Fox Media Interactive’s MySpace had the second highest monthly traffic count with 53.9 million unique viewers.

4.01.2008

April Fool's Day!


I love April Fools Day.

In college, I got “busted” for tying everyone’s doorknobs together (who knew it was a serious fire code violation??) and covering entire doorframes with saran wrap.

This morning, my kids and I filled my husband’s car with Styrofoam peanuts. Well, we didn’t fill it to the brim, but we did a great job. Let's just say my husband picked more peanuts this morning than Jimmy Carter.

The moral: don’t forget to take the time for harmless fun. So what if we killed a few styrofoam trees in the process.

video

3.24.2008

Easter Bunny Caught In Germany: Film At 11


I was raised Jewish, am now a Unitarian Universalist, and love Easter. Go figure... maybe it's the chocolate bunnies, brightly colored eggs, and big dinners.


Speaking of bunnies, this photo popped up with the heading "Real Easter Bunny Caught". I showed my two kids the photo, still unclear whether they believed in the Easter Bunny.


Instead of comment on the rabbit's size or where it came from, my nine-year-old exclaimed, "WHOA! Someone caught the real Easter Bunny??!? They are so lucky."


I guess he still believes. Aren't kids funny?

3.18.2008

Save Spaghetti-O's!


In 1978, my mom got a big important job in Boston and joined the legions of liberated working moms. I joined the legions of latchkey kids, proudly wearing our silver house key under my rainbow shirt.

It is then that I fell in love with Chef Boy-R-Dee. Strange name, but his food was awesome to a pre-teen kid entrusted to use one pot, a spoon, and the oven.

Spaghetti-O's ruled... I ate a big warm bowl during cartoons when I got home, and my love affair with comfort food began. Today, various trainers, gym memberships, and weight loss products owe a huge debt of gratitude to Chef, who invented the most delicious and fattening yummies on the planet. If food is love, I'm "Client 9" in a clandestine affair with... Spaghetti-O's. Don't forget the bread and butter to dip it in. Carb-a-licious!

The Onion is reporting the possible demise of my favorite comfort food:
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28022#email_this. Speak up for the defenseless circular pasta, with meatballs or franks!

3.17.2008

Everything's Irish if you add an O'



One of my muses is my daughter, who is hysterical on a daily basis. She's done all the usual toddler/preschool tricks: "decorated" her room with a Sharpie, smeared worldly possessions with "found" Vaseline, cut her hair with scissors, danced in front of a movie theater screen to the cheers of hundreds... heck, kids do the darndest things, and are constant sources of humor.

Today is St. Patrick's Day, a very, very big deal in my town where names like Sullivan, Hennessey, Fitzpatrick and Connelly are commonplace. At an "Our Heritage" assembly at the elementary school, 13 of the 20-odd kids in the classroom waved the Irish flag symbolizing their family's heritage. Or claimed heritage. Either way, you do the math.... it's a big deal here.

However, my green-garbed cherub came home from kindergarten and told us they had to add an O' in front of everyone's name just for fun "like, just for a day or for the rest of their lives or until tomorrow - well, like, whatever". Imagine the little Pakistani kid's tears... I'm sure he doesn't want an O apostrophe in front of his name. I'm not sure that was exactly a "culturally sensitive" classroom gag, but she thought it was as funny as a leprechaun's arse protruding from a pot o' gold, gosh and begorrah. Or as funny as the time "last week, or last month, whatever" when the entire kindergarten class, entrusted to make it from the art room back to the classroom without a teacher, made a detour to hide in an empty classroom "in the corner, where no one could see us or hear us." Good times for that kindergarten teacher who couldn't find her class of 23, huh? She should have sent a few leprechauns on those tricksters... if that story told to me by my own little leprechaun is even true. About 75 percent of her stories are, I'd wager.

Now go celebrate in a culturally sensitive way by hanging green beads around your neck, drinking green beer that stains your tongue and clothing, and eating fried food that will clog up your o'arteries. I'm going outside to go chase some pesky snakes out of my backyard.

3.15.2008

Why don't the really famous have helpers?

I try hard to be a supermom, but I can't do it all. I juggle my family, running a PR firm, community and Unitarian church volunteerism, business networking and social time with friends and family. It's simply overwhelming. I love the mom-ism: "I love my husband, but I need a wife."

I was watching a History Channel show about Jesus and Judas, and it got me thinking... why is it that truly effective leaders have a "sidekick" - an invaluable team member confidante and friend? OK, Judas didn't work out so well in the end, but it was a good try. Robin to Batman was more of an apprentice, and they had fun when that red Bat Phone wasn't ringing. Aqua Man? George Bush? Case in point. Not as successful. Dick Cheney reminds me of Hannibal Lecter, but I don't want to go there before breakfast. Although serial killers generally get a lot done solo, but there's an exception to every rule.

Moms need associate moms. And I don't mean the kids. Maybe some call them nannies or au pairs. What do you think?
The Onion thinks Christ should have had an Associate Christ. Would have been handy when that started wheeling out that big cross and hardware (in PR, we call that crisis planning).

Check out this audio news flash from my friends at The Onion:

3.12.2008

Only a mother could love a face like this


Are you a do-gooder type?
I'm a mom to two great kids. The older one has always tried to take the high road, mortified when other kids flick food and insult lunch ladies. Okay, he laughs, but he generally "tows the line." He's a straight shooter, and I dig every little cell in his little body for that... among other things.

Until this week. Now I'm nervous. I think I'll encouraging Robin Hood to dare to walk a bit on the dark side, thus managing my expectations. I ask you: What Would Eliot's Mom Do (WWEMD)?
Holier-Than-Thou Eliot Spitzer left his pulpit... I mean political career... today with a three-minute resignation - an ending to a career that was fittingly as long as the crime act itself. Check out his uber-frown... now that's the face of a guy who is supremely bummed out. How would you feel if you lost your career of fighting corruption to The World's Oldest Profession? I'd clench my lips together too, displaying my uber-frown. Organized crime and computer chip price fixing simply isn't as fun as prostitution when it comes to getting paid off by a New Jersey madam in "value-added benefits".
From what I hear, Spitzer (aka Client #9) was never a respected, beloved guy. As a kid, playing Truth or Dare with little Eliot was as one-sided as playing charades with a blind guy. This meticulously-maintained, thinly-veiled facade of piety has a big, nasty tear in it that you can't cover up with an applique.
Could my nine-year-old do-gooder ever be this guy some day? Who are the role models for today's whistleblowers, tattle-talers and do-gooders? Karen Silkwood? Linda Tripp? Jeffrey Weigand? Oprah? Brangelina and their merry global band of future do-gooders?

The Onion - A Newspaper That Will Out Last Them All

Elf Finger Found In Box Of Keebler Cookies

The Onion

Elf Finger Found In Box Of Keebler Cookies

PINE MEADOW, CA-Ed Swaney discovered a golden-fingernailed appendage in his E.L. Fudge cookies Sunday.

3.11.2008

Stupid Math Tricks: Not Funny... But Fantastic!


I hate math, but these math tricks bring me back to my fourth grade when I discovered how to write HELLO on my solar-powered 1975 model calculator. Or my "Little Professor" calculator, shown here. I really owned this calculator and used it often to calculate earnings as the world's first ten-year-old millionaire with a financial windfall earned from... oh heck, I used it to play math games and to figure out how much allowance I had to hoard weekly to afford the latest K-Tel record.

If you are like me and have a hard time balancing a simple checkbook with the Little Professor, try this math trick on for size. Print it out... it's fun at cocktail parties with invited guests who carry calculators in their shirt pockets!

1. Get a calculator. If you don't have one, use the one on your computer, silly. If you don't have a computer, steal one and then you'll have a computer AND a calculator for math tricks.
2. Key in the first three digits of your phone number (NOT the areacode). Or your drug dealer's phone number. Whatever.
3. Multiply by 80 (the year my Little Professor died of corroded batteries)
4. Add 1 (singular sensation)
5. Multiply by 250
6. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number
7. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number again.
8. Subtract 250 (I know you are looking up to #5 to see if you just ADDED 250. You didn't, silly.)
9. Divide number by 2, because you are sharing this trick equally with a friend.

[drum roll please... the suspense is killing you...]

Ta da! Recognize the answer? Aren't you amazing? Don't you wish being thin and pretty and wrinkle-free were this simple? Is there a cool math trick to make my mortgage payment disappear?

The Randomness of Being [Funny On The Web]

I love Stumble. It's a website. A widget and a window of selective randomness. A virtual slot machine of surfing the web, but it's like having a Vegas uncle who works at a casino who can rig that machine to land on those coveted cherries each and every time.


Once you go on the site and choose from a huge array of check boxes indicating your surfing preferences (mine: cats, humor, cooking, fitness, Buddhism... you get the idea), Mr. Stumble will kindly escort you to only the websites that have to do with your preferences. Get it? It's like having a British butler show you around... one who discreetly knows exactly what you like and don't like. And with bazillions of random websites out there, who has time for randomness if you feel like surfing around for funny stuff?


I also love board games, especially Monopoly. Mr. Stumble brought me to this website with most hysterical iterations of the ever-popular Community Chest and Chance cards. In light of today's news about Eliot Spitzer's $5,000 board game partner (that IS what they were doing in that hotel room, right Client #9?)... maybe DribbleGlass should come up with a new commemorative Spitzer card. OK, that one was too easy.


3.05.2008

Got a Secret?

So... in my vain attempt to be cool, I subscribed to a free, funky, fascinating e-newsletter/website called The Cool Hunter. As a PR consultant, I try to be on top of trends and "what's hot" - and let's face it, trend spotting is just good old-fashioned fun.

In the most recent issue of The Cool Hunter's electronic newsletter, I found a blog called Post Secret, one of the world's most popular sites encouraging people to submit a secret, visually depicted. "In less than a year, the PostSecret website has become the 2nd largest Blog on the web (as ranked by technorati.com this month)."

Amazing... and to think I kept my secrets in my diary where no one can enjoy and share them! What's your secret?

3.04.2008

Funny or Die: What do you think?

My good friend Jeremy Warnick, who I think is a rockstar because he interned for me back in the day and wore a Slurpee costume for my 7-Eleven promotions, recommended that I check out the website Funny or Die.

Against my better judgment, I did... and found myself laughing out loud at the Will Farrell-uploaded videos. (Note: some of the other stuff on the site is not so funny, particularly when compared to Will's work.)

Farrell's videos are homespun and darn funny... imagine if YouTubers went to Funny University, and then made some videos as a thesis project. Will uploaded over 20 videos, which is about four or five late nights in front of the computer with one Starbucks hot chocolate after another. (Oh, wait, that's my world and not necessarily yours.)

My favorite videos are the series created with a friend and his toddler... they make the toddler parrot back some pretty seriously funny phrases in the context of baby-as-landlord ("You're evicted!"), baby-as-bad-cop persuading Will Farrell to confess to killing three people... you get the idea. Perhaps the funniest video is the outtakes, where they show Will and friend pleading with this animated but willful little girl to say things that you'd only hear in the checkout line at Wal-Mart. (No heavy duty swearing though. That'd be weird.)

Check it out... let me know on this site what you think.

2.29.2008

Improv Everywhere

Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 70 missions involving thousands of undercover agents. The group is based in New York City... where else can you create a flash mob of folks in their underwear, create a synchronized swim team in a fountain, or stage a wedding on a subway train? Check out their work on You Tube (they have their own channel) and on their website... guaranteed ROFL fun.

Deep thoughts about trivia bees

So last night I swallowed my pride, gathered my kids and my vast trivia knowledge, and participated in my town's Trivia Bee representing the nonprofit Friends of Choate Park group. I thought I would be all that and a bag of chips. WRONG. My limited knowledge of sports and geography held me back... my teammates astounded me with their quick answers to questions about the British monarchy, literature and U.S. demographics (who knew one densest states is little Rhode Island, which I fondly call the Speedbump State?)

Trivia bees are odd creatures. They bring out the most competitive natures in all of us, that "Look at me! Praise me! I'm smart!" facet of us latent in every other area of our boring lives. Where else but a trivia night can you crack open that vault in your head, revealing that you have memorized all the passive verbs, or name all the presidents in order, or studied baseball cards religiously? It's an odd, quirky observational human condition, and I loved every minute.

Best of all, the Medway Foundation for Education spent $200 on the event, rustled up some amazing sponsors (thanks Strata Bank!), and made over $6,000 for educational programs. Now THAT'S profitable!

Want to hold your own trivia night? Check out http://www.3streetstrivia.com/ for a kit that makes the planning easy and fun. That way you can spend more time studying facts like who was the oldest president inaugurated (Reagan) or what the first live televised murder (Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby). The important stuff.

2.28.2008

Deep Thoughts


My friends say I'm funny. I like to write, especially about stuff I like. So why not blog? I may be writing to a handful of friends, prison inmates with coveted internet access, and an occasional procrastinator who stopped by holding a Crock Pot, thinking "THIS isn't my scrapbooking party?!". So what. Write on, I say.


The plan is to make this blog kinda fun, interesting, definitely quirky, and as unique as possible. I'm a public relations consultant and principal of my own boutique firm in Massachusetts, but if you've come for networking or PR tips, you are knocking on the wrong door. That's the red door next door, the one with the funky typeset sign and the lime green logo. You can find me and my PR colleagues from the PRConsultants Group (shameless plug #1) on Facebook, where we congregate, swap fish stories, and terrorize much larger agencies with homemade slingshots for sport.


My strategy is to post stuff that makes me laugh out loud, not the schlocky stuff that no one cares about. No yawners, just interesting observations, musings from people I admire (things that make me go HMM), and ROFL kind of content. Not LOL, just ROFL. There's a difference.


Just to give you a taste of what you'll find here, I'm a fan of Dave Barry, Chuck Jones, Danny Kaye, Robin Williams, Lewis Black, Jon Stewart, old SNL episodes and "TV Funhouse", Stephen King novellas, old 1950s comedies, 1980s John Hughes films, all kinds of animation, and even Disney specials and Lifetime fare. I love to Stumble around the web and pick up with one gloved hand pop culture items and funny writing from everywhere and anywhere, and will post here as a sort of compendium - montage - mosaic of cool and interesting and somewhat useless content.


The title of this blog, "Deep Thoughts," is a tip of the hat to the SNL skit I was obsessed with back in the day, "Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts," which taught me to expect the unexpected.


One of my faves, the rest here: http://www.alexras.info/edeep.php#:


"I'll take that little one, way in the back," I said. "That little collie mix?" said the animal shelter guy. "No," I said, "the one behind him." "The gray terrier?" he said. "He's gray," I said, "but way in the back, in the corner." "You mean the water faucet?" he said. I realized then it was a
water faucet, but I didn't want to look like a jerk, so I said, "Yeah, that's the one I want." It ended up costing me almost five hundred dollars to get that faucet removed. But you know, I've still got that faucet, and I wouldn't trade it for any dog in the world."
As eclectic as that seems, there's a common thread here, and that's to remind us that the only thing we can predict in life is that life is unpredictable. Death, taxes, blah blah blah.


Enjoy!