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Sunday, April 30, 2006
Start a Trend Today
I got married this weekend (Thanks, thanks. Applause and Congratulations).

It was a GRAND affair. We had a band, and a DJ. There was a huge tent, and a soon-to-be famous recording artist serenaded my bride. Perhaps more about the wedding later, but I haven't decided how much personal information you will see on this page...

At any rate, I got a special request from my paternal grandmother 3 or 4 months before the wedding - "I want you to escort me to my seat." Of course I obliged.

And so, on Saturday April 29th, 2006, at approximately 4:45pm EST, I escorted my Grandma Charlotte down the aisle, to her seat. Let it suffice to say that after that, there was speaking, and singing, and crying, laughing, and much merriment.

My father told me that my grandmother thoroughly enjoyed herself at the wedding. She predicts that very soon, you'll begin to see more and more grandmothers being escorted down the aisle by their grandsons. That brings me to my topic/idea - Start a Trend.

Trends are a funny thing. By their nature, (do trends have nature?), they are temporary, fleeting even. That's how a trend works.

By my count, there are only two types of trends:
  • Things to do
  • Things to wear

Even though "wearing something" is something one "does", I'm comfortable keeping them separate.

My brother and I discussed starting a trend a few years ago...It was called "Couch Day". Couch Day is a holiday dreamed up for me, by men. It's kinda like Mother's Day, for men. All men. Because Father's Day is a crock. It's the biggest COLLECT calling day of the year, and more ties and aprons with corny quips are sold on that day, than during all the rest of the year. On Couch Day, men everywhere get to lounge on their couch, futon, sofa, what have you, and have women bring them food and drinks, leave the remote control alone, and otherwise stay out of the way until needed. Couch Day is in the most neglected month when it comes to holidays - August. (Conveniently both me and my brother's birthdays are in August.) Just about everyone we've been brave enough to discuss this at length with thinks it's a great idea. The question is...How to start? Do we publicize it on a website? How do we tell people about the site? An e-mail newsletter? A fleet of carrier pigeons?

What should we do? Can you "plan" a trend, or are trends far too spontaneous for that?

By the way, we want Couch Day to be more than a trend eventually.

So, consider this my first attempt at starting a trend, and an ambitious one at that, since I'm trying to start two at one time.

  1. Escort your grandmother down the aisle.
  2. Convince your S.O. to be a EXTRA loving on August 15.

And don't be surprised if you see a fleet of carrier pigeons with tiny miniature couches strapped to their legs.

Know what I'm Sayin'??

for centuries to come...shout out to Flee.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Gas Prices: Politics Alert
Okay...check this article out. It says that Bush is ordering an investigation to determine whether or not the price of gasoline has been illegally manipulated.

Note it doesn't say " compare the rise in price of gasoline to the rise in price of crude." It says to check to see if the price has been "illegally manipulated". The article goes on to indicate that the White House will be putting it's weight behind state governments who find "price gouging" in the petroleum industry.

What turns these seemingly strong statements into idle empty threats is the fact that they're not going to find price gouging. They'll find "competition". They'll find "supply vs. demand". They'll say "That's not price gouging! That's textbook inflation!"

Then the GOP will get into it...they'll inact a bunch of legislation to push the gas prices back down where they should be (conveniently in time for the 2008 election), and Big Oil won't care, because they've already made their nests enough to support their families for generations to come.

I mean...look at Exxon Mobil CEO Lee F. Raymond. Then vs. Now:

He's not struggling! He's not missing any meals, nor is he losing any sleep over the extra dollars that he is sucking out of the American public. The difference between these two photos clearly parallels the Oil Industry's profits and growth over the last 2 years, living off the fat of the people.

This is disgusting.

Know what I'm sayin'??

(Apologies to Mr. Raymond and his family if he has some sort or glandular problem or something.)
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Music: Gnarls Barkley
Good people.

I predict that St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley will end up as one of the hottest albums of this year. I also predict that it will not get the recognition it deserves, at least here in the United States. (I hope I'm wrong about that.) The first single, "Crazy", has reached the top of the British Pop Charts based solely on the strength of download sales.

Here is a video of a recent performance they did on UK television.

This version is slightly slower and more stripped down than the actual track, but it gives you an idea of the song. You can hear the actual track on either their MySpace page, or their actual homepage.


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Monday, April 17, 2006
There was a baby...standing on the corner. And he didn't even look scared!
This is one of those posts that just occurs to me. If you don't recognize the title, then you need to study up on your Dave Chappelle.

My fiancee gets cold very easily, and she doesn't like breezes and cool air to blow directly on her, even on the hottest day. She prefers more of an ambient cooling effect. I was thinking about this yesterday, and it led me to wonder "Has she always been like that?"

Now, let me share with you a few points about how my mind works. I don't like to use absolute words like "always" and "never". I just feel like the world is too crazy and too unpredictable for such words to be used willy nilly, without pausing to think about what one is saying. For instance..."I always turn off the light when I leave the room." or "I never leave the bathroom without washing my hands." I just find that hard to believe.

So anyway, I was wondering "Has she always been like that?" Probably so. "Even when she was a baby?" HHHmmmm. Good question.

That's how I got on this whole concept of "Do babies' likes/dislikes and preferences mirror those they have as adults?"

Way back in the mid-Seventies, was she crying because she was hungry? Did her diaper need changing? Or was she just uncomfortable because there was an oscillating fan on the table that was blowing on her?

If I grow up to hate peas, does that correlate to my mother having problems feeding me peas as a baby?

I'm sure babies' brains are complex enough at that point to know "I don't like the taste of this." or "I'm cold." How many sleepless nights for parents could be remedied by a little creative problem solving? Dust off the old Scientific Method?

What about allergies? Seems rather reactive to find out that a child is allergic to peanuts when he/she almost dies after an after-school PBJ, right? We need something proactive! Is it possible to test babies for food allergies at a very early stage? How? I'm sure you wouldn't want to give a baby the skin-prick test that you would get from an allergist. I've been through that, and it's nothing I would wish on an infant.

Maybe babies don't have those types of allergies. Why not? To think about it from another perspective, what do we "lose" as we grow older that causes these allergies to develop?

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Humor - Burger King Commercial
I think this is just hilarious. Look at The King's eyes:

The only thing that could make this funnier would be if The King could talk. He'd be like "I am King Cornholio! Would you like some...cappuccino??"

Pure comedy.

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Monday, April 10, 2006
More on this Gas Price Thing
A month ago I wrote this post about the whole "gas prices being out of control" thing.

This month the 2006 Fortune 1000 was published. The Fortune 1: Exxon Mobil. In 2005 their profits rose by 42.6 percent.

There are 12 Petroleum Refining companies in the Fortune 1000. Each and every one of their Fortune 1000 ranks rose over last year's rankings. One of their profits rose by over 500%! I'm not making this stuff up! a year where gas prices for consumers are higher than EVER, while these petroleum companies are pointing the finger at the price of crude, they meanwhile had RECORD PROFITS.

I was going to do a bunch of research around this. Create an elaborate Excel table showing profit growth and Fortune 1000 ranking changes along with average increases per year. Maybe even comparing these ranking changes to the steady rise in the price of gas. I got started, and whole thing just made me angry. The situation wasn't helped when I found this transcript from NOW on PBS.

I know it's been proven that you don't necessarily save money by buying hybrid cars, but this kind of data makes me prefer to give my money to GM or Ford or Honda rather than Exxon Mobil.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006
A Capitalist Society at Work
I found this article today.

Essentially, Verizon is publishing some generic ads in their Yellow Pages. To use the article's example, under the heading of "taxi" in the book, there is a generic ad that says
"Need a lift? 24 hour service. 7 days a week...reliable and professional."
Sounds pretty boilerplate. Here's the catch: depending on the day you call, you can be connected to any of a number of taxi services when you call the attached number. Your business is being sold to the highest bidder. Depending on the industry, Verizon will get at least $2 per call, and as much as - well, the sky's the limit. That's the beauty of a bidding process. Think about it. It doesn't make sense for a taxi service to pay more than $3 per call or so because the average fare would be what? 25 bucks or so? But...think about it like this: What about a roofing service after a tough storm has passed through town? How much would you pay to make sure that every customer who calls that number for one day talks to you? How about pizza delivery on Superbowl Sunday?

The logical hole to poke in this is the confusion it would cause if you find a roofer you like but can't find their business card or leave something in that taxi, but don't remember it until the next day. Tomorrow, that same number might connect you to another company. Verizon has you covered. The system remembers what roofing service or taxi service it connected you to, and the next time you call that number, it connects you to the same business that you worked with, regardless of who's the highest bidder for that day. Pretty smart, huh?

Big V is running the ads on a trial basis in Boston right now, but plan to roll the ads out to over 500 directories this year, with the ads appearing in dozens of categories. The profit potential here boggles the mind.

Wish I'd thought of it.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006
When a plan comes together...
So my fiancee' and I went to a short Van Hunt concert last Sunday. Loved it, but that's another post. This post is about the venue.

The concert was held at a place here in Atlanta called The Drunken Unicorn. It's the performance room behind this club/bar called MJQ.

On the wall in the Unicorn, there were quotes from Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Just a few quotes, but coming out of that, I had a distinct need to have my own copy of the book. I shared this with my fiancee', with the qualification that I didn't want to just go to the store and buy one, I wanted an older used copy. War is an old need for a new copy.

So today I'm in a thrift store, and there it is. The Art of War. $1. Score.

Look for favorite quotes soon.

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