Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yay, Us

Now here's something to be proud of. I'm so glad the Orlando Business Journal is working hard to bring us important stories like these. Click the image to read the fascinating and encouraging story.

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Just Another Hundred Grand and We Can Get Rid of This Banner

over at Wikipedia.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Things That Never Should've Happened

On a completely unrelated image search, I came upon this horrific nightmare, now appropriately reflecting the thoughts of both of these sick individuals. And the rest of the world.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day The Theater Was Sold Out

Christmas used to be a great day to go to the movies, as you and a handful of people didn't have to suffer lines or sell-outs. You could stroll up to the box office three minutes before show time and still get a prime seat. Not so anymore. Movies get released on Christmas day and people have turned what was a secret Jewish custom into a national event. I know the Jews must be pissed at the Gentiles for co-opting their Christmas tradition.

But we were torn yesterday. Nothing really jumped out at us.

There was the new Brad Pitt movie, which looked OK, but we didn't feel like sitting through three solid hours of Pitt being pretty. Eventually, maybe when the crowds die down, we will see what all the hype is about.

There was Brad Pitt's ex-wife's new movie, in which she stars with that idiot Owen dude. Aniston is sure to play a lovable if slightly ditzy hot chick, while Owen is sure to play a lovable, if slightly ditzy, laid-back surfer type. There's also a dog. Cute. Not happening. Not even on DVD or HBO.

There was Brad Pitt's ex-wife's ex-boyfriend Vince Vaughn in a throwaway Christmas feel-good festival. I wish to meet Vince Vaughn some dark night in a drunken alley knife fight.

Will Smith's new offering seemed a little weird, all about organ donation. Not your average holiday fare, so we declined on that.

Actor du jour Philip Seymour Hoffman stars opposite Meryl Streep in a movie about a priest who might be molesting boys. Sounds like fun - when I am stranded on a desert island and a rescue package arrives and the only thing in it is a battery powered DVD player and that movie.

There were various animated things, crap movies from Sandler and Carey, both of whom have worn out their welcome playing the same guy all the time (France - you want these guys?) that vampire movie for tween girls, and Keanu Reeves playing himself in a remake of the classic The Day The Earth Stood Still.

So, much to my horror, we agreed on Tom Cruise's new film, in which he plays Tom Cruise trying to act like a Nazi officer. I was sure he would strut about in Tom Cruise fashion, being all Tom Cruisey, urgent and badly trying to convey earnestness.

Sold out. I was not really disappointed.

So we saw Keanu, in IMAX, and it was a good mindless romp in that campy old sci-fi style in which every military or government type is hyper-dogmatic and cardboard. Reeves did not even bother me in this role, because it was made for his limited skills as an actor. Kathy Bates is the Secretary of Defense, and clearly modeled her performance on Hillary Clinton. The heavy-handed "You're killing the planet so we have to kill you" message was groan-inspiring and I half expected Al Gore to make a cameo. John Cleese did make a cameo, which is always nice. And for anyone who is not a fan of the New York Giants, the destruction of Giants stadium is awesome, but I'm sure it's pure sacrilege worthy of a fatwa in certain areas of the northeast.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Peace on Earth for Twenty-One Seconds

Wind & Water

Christmas Eve, back porch, morning breeze blowing chimes as the pool is reflected on the ceiling. A coot can be heard on the canal while a jet passes overhead, on its way to Orlando International Airport, likely loaded with tourists coming down for the Holidays. Many of them will step off the plane and think, "We've got to move here."

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La Navidad en la Florida

Makes you think all the world's a sunny day...

Norfolk Island Pine, front yard 12.24.08 / 8:31 AM

Oranges, back yard 12.24.08 / 8:33 AM

They get ridiculously large if you click them.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Graphic Designer Turned Celebrity is Poster Boy for Intolerance

The guy who created the Obama poster everyone raved about is mad at Barack Obama. Shephard Fairey, pictured here looking like a pouting child, is pissed off that Obama has chosen celebrity pastor and writer of schlock religious pulp, Rick Warren, to deliver the invocation at the inauguration. Warren has said some things that have angered the gay community. And because he chose him to recite a prayer at his inauguration, Obama obviously agrees with Warren's views.

Hey, Shep; I've got an idea:

Why don't we just take all the people who don't think exactly like us and put them on trains to reeducation camps?

Were you not listening to Obama when he was campaigning as a uniter? Was the Hope that everyone would suddenly get along and our differences vanish under the new black president?

Hey, Fairey; you are being as intolerant as you claim Warren to be. Where were you when Obama was branded as a terrorist because he brushed shoulders with some hack radical from the 60s? Where were you when the far right was accusing Obama of thinking just like Jeremiah Wright? I only ask because you are doing the exact same thing now.

It's the fucking invocation - not a cabinet position - not even the benediction, which will be delivered by an 87-year-old black preacher named Joseph Lowery. And I would bet a good sum of cash that you could find things in Lowery's belief system that you don't agree with.

Get over yourself, Fairey. You got the guy you wanted in power, now let him do what he said he was going to do. Just because your Che Guevara rip-off poster got you some press and your own Wikipedia entry doesn't make you the spokesman for a generation.

Who do you think you are? Bono?

Via Animal New York.

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Tidings of Comfort and Joy

I've been the recipient of some nice cards and gifts from people I've never met this season. Among them, I got a card from the man with three "M's" in his name, M. M. McDermott of The Renegade Agency Confessional. Thanks, MMM. Kind of you.

From Atlanta came a package yesterday from "Aunt Mary," the deceased and eccentric relative of Fred Leo, better known as Every Sandwich, a guy I have much in common with and with whom I have collaborated on some fun stuff. Fred continues his aunt's tradition of sending weird and somewhat depressing gifts to friends and relatives. (Click "Aunt Mary" above for the full story.)

I got a bootlegged copy of "Century of the Self," the documentary by Adam Curtis, the first five minutes of which will confirm your long suppressed fear that if you are employed in marketing or advertising, you work for Satan. It also explores the relationship between advertising and politics and confirms that we are a stupid people, easily swayed by meaningless messaging. I'm looking forward to the remaining three hours of this career-affirming festival of joy.

Aunt Mary also sent this fine can, which I will keep in a safe place, to be consumed for a future Christmas dinner in a post-apocalyptic, desolate landscape of starvation and chaos, where the roving bands of marauding, radioactive zombies seek people to rape and dismember; where the streets run red with the blood of the saints and any glimmer of hope is lost; where carols around Christmas trees are but bitter memories of our lives wasted in the pursuit of things we didn't need.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

As Seen on TV

An unsolicited commercial script for a birthday gift I received from my sister-in-law.

Are you tired of the hassles of grilling in the dark? The neck pain from holding a flashlight under your chin? The undercooked food that you thought was done? The embarrassment of looking like a bad chef when you return to the grill to finish what you thought was already finished? The lawsuits from your dinner guests after they get food poisoning? The whispers and talking behind your back? The social ostracism and lifelong humiliation? The resulting alcoholism, drug addiction and thoughts of suicide?

These problems melt away with the Grill Light.

The Grill Light uses high powered LEDs. Unlike standard bulbs, LEDs illuminate food without the extra ambient glow that reflects off grill surfaces, obscuring the color of steaks, chops, burgers and ribs, making it more difficult to judge doneness, and making you look stupid when you walk into the house with pink chicken or raw steak.

Cook with confidence with the Grill Light, the life-saving miracle that will keep you, your family and all who eat in your home happy, healthy and free from the illnesses resulting from the digestion of undercooked food.

Available at Lowe's and other fine stores.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Write What You Know

Over and Over Again (Ad from Facebook)

I'll go out on a limb here and guess that Mr. Grisham's new book features a promising young lawyer who lands a job at a prestigious law firm. It will be set in the South. The lawyer will have morals that he finds compromised by the firm and/or the case to which he has been assigned. He does not talk to his father, who is also a lawyer. He will have to go it alone in his fight for justice, with the help of a magical old black man and a hot paralegal who wants his bones. In the end, the old southern corruption will be beaten and the young lawyer will make off with giant piles of cash, say goodbye to the magic old black man and take a leave from practicing law to drink beer in the Keys with the paralegal. On the way, he will stop by his father's giant southern mansion (which he hasn't set foot in since he left for Duke/Ole Miss/Tulane) to give the nurses some money to take better care of him.

When the book goes to film (hopefully straight to DVD) it will star Matthew McConaughey, on whom Grisham has a secret man-crush.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Giving a Literal Meaning to the Term "Meat Market"

"Who's that sweaty guy who smells like a flame-broiled burger?"

or "Is that a Whopper in your pants, or are you just a stinky idiot."

I know CP+B is behind this new meat-scented body spray somehow. Here's the story from the Telegraph. Here's the site from BK.

Genius and retarded all at once. I'll bet it sells well this season, if for no other reason than as a gag gift.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stock Photography Fail

Staying at a Hampton Inn in Miami, this was my room key, carefully branded by Hilton Hotels Corporation to include the friendly and regional Florida welcome. Nice attention to detail. Notice, however, the image in the middle left, where a license plate on a vintage vehicle cheerfully suggests that I "Explore Kentucky." (Click image if you don't believe me or if you have poor eyes.)

Who knows, maybe it was intentional, in that "You're not just welcome in Florida, you should check out Hampton Inns in Kentucky as well" way.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

The King's House

No, not Graceland (Elvis was overrated). It's BK headquarters in Miami from my hotel room. Somewhere in this building someone approved the CP+B idea to put a man in tights and a giant plastic king head, thus creeping out the world for the next three years. (And making them laugh, which could possibly equal success. Only the failure of The Whopper's arch-revial the Baconator will tell. )

No, I'm not working with BK; in Miami with my new job for another reputable (yet undisclosed) client. First day on the job. So far, so good.

Have been met with at least three incredulous, "You've never been to Miami?" comments today. Sadly, no. Not sure why I had put it off. Just no reason to be here before, I guess. Seems to be a great city. I thought Orlando was a melting pot. This place is extremely diverse/cosmopolitan, in a very cool way.

I'm sure that's just the newness. I could be in Cleveland or Lubbock or Lansing and probably say, "This is a cool place!"

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Take it Back - Music Video Isn't Dead Yet

This one, from Keb Mo, took some prizes recently at a film festival.

Thanks to Every Sandwich for tweeting about Keb Mo and prompting me to look this up.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Tebow's Heisman Concession Speech Notes Leaked

I have connections at the University of Florida, and some of my sources have sent me a copy of Tim Tebow's notes for the speech he plans to give at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City tomorrow after the Heisman Trophy is presented.

It is widely presumed that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford will win, which is not fair to Gator fans, who wanted to have back-to-back Heisman wins for Tebow, along with another National Championship as well as supreme rule of the Galaxy. And the Heavens and all that dwell therein.

Here it is, from Timmy's pen:

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Let's Put You in a Holiday Mood

Just as "Rudolph" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" get airplay every year, you should also put this video on your seasonal Holiday Watch List. (Charlie Brown is depressing. That boy needs medication. Or at least hit his dad's liquor cabinet.) This holiday classic is from a few years ago, but like all the great holiday films, it still sets the tone for a wonderful yuletide.

I wrote more extensively about this very virile viral video last year.

See more of Chris Christmas Rodriquez here.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Clothes You Could Eat - Part II

Ahhh, Abercrombie, the status piece for the too hip to know any better; so hip they don't even need to wear the clothes in the ads or catalogs.

The A&F logo says only, "I shop at Abercrombie and I'm an Abercrombie billboard." I've created a better one. This one says "I'm toasty and warm in a Holiday Way." Buy one for the lady in your life. She'll say, "Thank you... freak."

More holiday food clothing brand rip-offs here

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Just in Time For the Holidays

I'm thinking of launching a new line of holiday food-themed brand rip-offs. Let them know how much you love the holidays, but hate the logo-emblazoned clothing.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Neighbors Didn't Hear About the Recession

Yesterday evening I was stringing lights on the house and my neighbor teases from across the street, "Well, now I guess we're going to have to do ours."

This morning a truck pulling a trailer marked "HANDYMAN" pulls up in front of their home and two guys commence to climbing on the roof and stringing up lights. They were still at it when I got home tonight.

I'm no handyman, but I'll be damned if I'm paying someone to string lights up. I always thought you hire a handyman for stuff you can't do, like building a panic room or installing a fire pole from the master bedroom down to the kitchen. I think my neighbors are both lazy and not hurting for cash. But that's good. They're keeping the economy in motion...and these handymen are milking the hell out of this job.

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Google: The Magic 8-Ball Ouija Board Palm Reader

And note the not-so-surprising fact that "if a girl likes you" was asked 13 million times, while "if a guy likes you" only 1 million times. Draw your own conclusions. I'm sure Chris Rock could riff on this.

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Great Explorers and Their Cunning Branding

It's going to be 85 today.

It is said that Erik the Red misleadingly named Greenland in order to lure settlers. True, portions of Greenland are green, but for the most part, Erik was a con man real estate speculator. I've also heard that they named Iceland in order to ward off settlers, as in, "We're keeping this paradise a secret." (I'm boring the American readers right now, who regard Greenland and Iceland as part of Canada or Denmark or someplace where they wear wooden shoes.)

Years ago, when Central Florida was being discovered by wealthy Northeasterners, they were in the same situation as Erik. They needed more people down here to make their little dream of paradise a reality, so they branded everything with the name "Winter." Winter Garden, Winter Haven, Winter Park, Winter Springs. And the people came, and they were all, "Damn! Someone needs to invent air conditioning! Why didn't you name it 'Sweltering Hell Hole'? or 'Place of Many Bugs'? We're going home. Send us more oranges."

And then the great explorer and con man real estate speculator Walt Disney bought up a bunch of land really cheap and the people came back to see what Walt had built. And they were all, "Damn! It's 85 degrees in December. Let's move here." And now everything is named after an imaginary village in Tuscany.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Things You Should've Learned a Long Time Ago

Or - 12* Things I Won't Miss About CubeWorldTM

  1. When two people are walking down a hall side-by-side in conversation and another person approaches going the opposite way, ONE OF YOU NEEDS TO STEP ASIDE SO I DON'T HAVE TO DUCK INTO A DOORWAY TO LET YOU PASS.
  2. I'm sure whomever you're talking to on your cellphone from the bathroom stall would love to know that YOU ARE TALKING TO THEM WHILE TAKING A CRAP.
  4. Your cologne/perfume needs to be used MORE SPARINGLY.
  5. Switching to Spanish from English when the non-Hispanic enters the area is RUDE.
  6. Could you possibly crunch your snack ANY LOUDER?
  7. We don't all love your music. They're called HEADPHONES.
  8. The meetings about meetings? They're a WASTE OF TIME and MONEY.
  9. It's going to take you a long time to clear your cube of all those personal belongings when they lay you off. IT'S WORK - NOT A SHRINE TO YOUR CHILDREN, CATS or BOYFRIEND.
  10. Gay guys - shut up with the gay sex humor. WE GET IT; YOU'RE GAY.
  11. Gay guys - quit complimenting the women. Straight guys get TAKEN TO H.R. FOR THAT.
  12. The morning gossip sessions about what you watched on TV last night need to be dialed down - SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO SLEEP.
* Post #1,200 at Where's My Jetpack?

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Mariah Carey, What Hath Thou Wrought?

I don't know when it started, but somewhere along the way singers all started to do that warbly thing. I can't describe it in words well, but it's where they take a single syllable and turn it into five syllables and take it all over a scale or up and down an octave. It's show-off singing. Right now, some cube dweller here on what I call "Death Row" (where they keep the creatives on their way out soon - far away from the other creatives) someone from another department keeps a clock radio for company. They also enjoy Christmas music. Some unknown (to me) lady crooner is smoothing her way through "Do You Hear What I Hear" right now, where even the word "I" is an unrecognizable string of sounds, as if she's trying to impress a panel of judges at a high school talent show. It's enough to make me even more Scrooge-like. Gimme my headphones.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Horrors of War

The Florida fireant is our enemy. He serves no purpose in the yards of suburbia. His constant encroachment threatens our survival. The terror of the fireant will no longer be tolerated.

Witness this preemptive strike on a colony of fireants, as they had set up a secret underground terror cell in my backyard. They were subjected to repeated shelling by lava rock from the air.

They will be back. The fireant is a resilient foe. He fights to the death. We will not give in. And the fireant had best know this: we do not negotiate with terrorists.

The graphic nature of the following film may be unsuitable for children. Viewer discretion is advised.

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It's The Little Things

Great ad, if you ask me. Simple headline, bold yet elegant art direction. The copy acknowledges the current economic situation. "You got laid off and you are going out on interviews. Wear a tie that says, 'I'm a serious candidate.'" I would've given the area below the knot a more symmetrical fold, thus adding the vague innuendo of....something. But still, that's a little thing.

I hate ties and will avoid wearing them unless they are absolutely required. There's just something about being choked that doesn't appeal to me. There is no function to a tie. It is a holdover from the days of frilly shirts, stockings and powdered wigs. It is merely a statement, an accessory, a custom that I hoped would be dead by now. I unfortunately own a few, none of which are as sharp as this Countess Mara tie.

The ad says, "available at Macy's." So go to the Macy's website and you will not find a single Countess Mara tie. Go to the Countess Mara store locator site (called Save The Gentleman) and enter my zip code and be met with, "
Sorry, there were no stores found within 50 miles of that zip code." They don't even give me the option to increase the search radius, never mind the fact that there are at least three Macy's stores within 50 miles of my home.

Then, a visit to the Countess Mara website shows more examples of how Countess Mara is letting the little things slip. There's this confidence-instilling paragraph (emphasis mine):


A simple spellcheck, Countess.

How about this?


True, I suppose. And just as true when it comes to your web presence (and that of your suppliers) and how it integrates with your print campaigns. It's the little things. You are selling what are likely high-end ties, more expensive than most, and you are choking on the littlest of things. And you just might be going out on interviews soon.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Happy Dan, The Sunshine Man

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Puck Lite: Baby Jesus Never Looked So Happy

Every once in a while, you come across a product that works, suits your needs and renews your faith in the Chinese work ethic. With Mother Mary and Step-dad Joseph as my witnesses, I am not being paid for this post.

I was entrusted with my parents' nativity scene for the Holidays, as they are off in Alaska for a time, visiting Sarah Palin and a couple of my sisters. My Dad takes great pains to light this thing just perfectly in his home, so I felt the need to do it justice and give it the proper Catholic Statuary Ambiance it deserves. Each figure measures about 16", and we decided to put it in the front window of the library here at the Jetpack Compound, the better to antagonize our Santa-worshiping neighbors. (And to let our Jewish neighbors know that we know that Jesus was a Jew. Solidarity and all. Yo. Peace.)

Problem was lighting. I experimented with all manner of clip lights and standing floor lamps, but nothing was working. Enter Puck Lite: a set of three LED lights, battery operated, with peel-and-stick adhesive backing, for under $5 at the local Publix in the light-bulb aisle. (Made in China. God Bless China.) You can see them in the photo below, shining down on this humble scene like three giant Stars of Bethlehem.

I knew I had the perfect lighting scheme going when I heard, "Oh-mi-gawd, Dave! That thing in the front window is sooooo creepy!"

Yes! Nailed it.

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The Internet Gods are Trying to Tell Me Something

And by Internet Gods, I mean, of course, The Overlords of Mountain View, who of late have been making the word verifications on Blogger pronounceable non-words that would make ideal names for useless apps and social media widgets.

Message received, Google Masters. ScionoTM. Dot com.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Guess I Won't Run for The Senate

As Florida Senator Mel Martinez bows out of the Senate with the always handy "spend more time with my family" line, which probably really means, "someone has pictures of me engaged in very weird sex," I thought I'd take a shot at his seat. It's an easy job that basically involves communicating bullshit and making people believe it. And who better to do that than a copywriter? The salary is pretty good ($169K) and the perks are excellent. Plus, I'd get to hang out with people with names like Saxby Chambliss. My pet projects would be national rail service and the criminalization of anything that has to do with the Jonas Brothers.

But alas, Jeb is back on the scene, Florida's former Governor and George Bush's little brother. Even given that heavy handicap of being related to the most hated President in modern history, Jeb is still well-liked. Think about that: these two guys shared a bathroom growing up. Fluent in Spanish, calm and cool in a hurricane and pretty much the anti-Bush, if Jeb runs, he'll win. Plus, he'll have the "Republican attack machine" working for him if the race heats up, and I'm pretty sure I don't want the things I've written on this blog to ever be made public.

Crossposted to Radio Free Babylon.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Now I Get Twitter

I've been sucked into the Twitterverse Black Hole through work-related necessity. I joined as a student of social media, and I've communicated through it on a few jobs. Mostly, it's a place to read witty tweets by snarky ad people or find out what some guy I've never met ate for breakfast this morning. Until tonight, I didn't understand Twitter's true power.

One of the people I follow is Justus Johnson of Plaid. Tonight, Justus tweeted this about what he was watching on TV.

Now, I know my cable has a built-in guide, and I know I can go to any number of sites that will list for me what is showing in my area, but this is much easier. I wasn't going to look that show up on any guide. Instead, I had the random chance, the unplanned catching of a show I'd been thinking about and wondering whatever happened to. Because Justus saw it, I saw it, ABC got another viewer, and I got to witness why this show doesn't make the rounds much anymore.

Wizards, warlocks. Santa is an outlaw, chased by toy-hating Nazis. Santa as an abandoned Moses baby, left on the doorstep of some family named Kringle. Grows up to defy the Nazis and deliver toys to kids who are needy. Nazis raid houses and confiscate toys, then hold a town-square rally where they burn all the toys and laugh as the town's children cry. Santa (Kris Kringle) locked up as a criminal. Kris' girlfriend gives the reindeer some drugs and they fly. Kris leads his people to the Promised Land (the North Pole), where they practice the works of Jesus, giving to the poor and needy, making life brighter for all the world.

Wow. It's been a while since I watched that show. Thanks, Justus. And long live Twitter.

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Domain Names You Didn't Think To Buy

But it's not too late - if you HURRY! ACT NOW!

So often in the media business, new companies, agencies, widgets and apps sprout up with the dumbest names. It’s like the owners didn’t even try to come up with something creative, but instead made up a dumb word or misspelled an existing word. (More on that here and here.)

Being a collector of cool sounding domain names (which I have yet to do anything with, giant dreams notwithstanding) I just went to GoDaddy and top-of-head found you five six names in about four four and a half minutes that I think are damn good names. Buy them. Build an app. Sell it to Google. Thank me at your “I’m a millionaire!” party.

I’m still working on my millions. I'll let you know when that happens.

Here you go:

SUNNYFOG.COM is available!
FOGGYSUN.COM is available!!!!

That last one? Gold.

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Good News, Watchmakers: 239 Million People Are Asking This Question

I guess they don't trust the clocks on their computers.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Wonder No More!

People expect a lot out of their Google. (Click the image to read it better.)

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Notes on a Meeting—#8

Look, if you don't need glasses, why wear them? Someone in Amsterdam or Stuttgart or Copenhagen started this trend, and now it is rampant in agencies worldwide. You don't look more creative with these things. You just look like you're from Amsterdam or Stuttgart or Copenhagen.

From this morning's production meeting.

Previously in Notes on a Meeting.

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There's Just Something About Clouds

Your Monday Morning Moment of Inspiration

A recent study found that 95% of this blog's readers are either atheists, agnostics, unobservant Jews or former church-goers (and I fall into that 95%). But now that the Thanksgiving Holiday is over and the Black Friday mess is cleaned up and you're dreading another week in the bowels of your workplace, toiling like a poorly-paid apprentice for your ungrateful overlords (or your demanding and fickle patrons), take a five-minute break and let this video (shot Sunday morning in the backyard) of the clouds rolling in fast from the Gulf (set to the instrumental "March of the Clouds") be your church or temple for the week. It seems to work for my dog, (the mostly obedient Australian Shepherd, "Roman") who can sit out back and watch the clouds roll by for hours.

Just put it on full screen with the sound up loud and let it wash over your dogged spirit.

See the guitarist performing this piece here.

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