January 3, 2013: Average Angry Wire Service: A controversy is brewing in Washington, DC around the use of an autopen to sign an important document, namely a document which would end a controversial agreement between often arguing parties.
This is a boy-meets-girl story that began well enough on a Capitol Hill bar crawl stop at the Tune Inn dive bar and evolved into a semi-commited relationship between the two long-time singles. The relationship now includes a drawer at each other’s apartment, a joint credit card and an assumed “date” each Saturday night. But as with many boy-meets-girl stories it got ugly after one unfortunate “toilet non-flushing” too many. Screaming, name calling and a storming out followed and then a few days later the “note” appeared in the boy’s Google + account.
The girl in question (Nancy), states that “It’s over!” and that autopen is a perfectly acceptable way to authenticate a breakup, BFF status change or other relationship decision. Her former love (John, but known as “Boner” by friends and colleagues), disagrees and adamantly states that the breakup “isn’t the real deal without a real quill.” He also refuses to relinquish her drawer, end their fiscal entanglements or change his Facebook relationship status until she returns from her family vacation in Hawaii (so they can come to a resolution face to face on neutral territory in Washington).
His challenge to the validity of the “Dear Boner” letter has caused Nancy stress on her Hawaiian vacation, according to her spokesperson, and almost led to her canceling a much anticipated golf game and cliff diving tour with the newly elected president of the local American Legion hall in Waikiki Beach. Her spokesperson also stated that she’ll deal with the problem in 2 months when she returns to DC and that her debt to him will eventually be paid off and won’t cause his Visa account to reach its ceiling and hurt his credit rating.
Sources familiar with the couple said they couldn’t elaborate on the bathroom incident but heard her threaten him with a “swirly” or similar swirl related toilet action if he didn’t “clean up his act.”
For a while in the 80’s is was slightly humorous when a blonde valley girl on a TV show would incorrectly use the word “like” in a sentence. But the joke did wear of quite quickly.
Today it seems that virtually everyone talks purely in analogies, and it is wrong!
Incorrectly using the English language in such gratuitous ways should be an instant firing situation for any writer or presenter. Anyone in business that uses the word incorrectly is showing his or her level of ignorance.
The next time you hear someone say “I was like so happy” or “It was like so raining” please recognize his or her ignorance in anyway you feel is appropriate (personally I prefer insulting them or even the throwing of rotten fruit, I would like to insult then like a Victorian would have)
And Facebook has to answer for the crime of the “like” button. While they have not fallen into the analogy pit, they have created a monster that is being used in very ridiculous ways.
So I’m picking up my monthly supply of currently legal anti-fat guy pills at the GNC and I realize I recognize the song on the radio station! No, not the “oldies” station that still plays Ronnie James Dio mind you, the one that the young people enjoy. It was a song by emerging Sony artist Oliver Murs from the UK who did a quick two songs a cappella at the Sony Club a few weeks ago when I happened to be there following a branding conference in that building.
While checking out I even found a way to slip in a comment about how Olly (I can call him Olly because we’ve met), was really enjoying America and touring with One Direction (I think that’s one of those popular “boy bands” like the New Kids on the Block).
The young cashier flashed me a look that indicated she was skeptical about my level of “hip” and tried to trip me up by asking me, “What’s his story?” I searched my memory banks for anything else I remember from the Sony event and recalled something about him being on a British show called the “X Factor” so I replied with that little nugget and a snide remark about how annoying that “Simon” guy is (he’s on or owns all those “Star Search” shows since Ed McMahon died I’m pretty sure). Well, I got the approving head nod so I must have nailed it.
Anyway, I got the hell out of there before I got any questions about anything else and now I’m walking around feeling pretty “hip” for the first time in a long while. Being hip is getting tougher and tougher though and I overheard some young people referring to Facebook as “Oh, that’s sooo 2008!” so I guess even the Gen Xers and many of the Millenials are in danger of becoming squares now. As for me, I’ll bask in the glow of total personal coolness status for both 2012 and 2013 (I’ll avoid the GNC til at least January 2nd so that counts as 2013), secure that at least a few young people consider me “hip” (or is it “hep” these days? Or maybe I’m a Hep-cat now???… Dammit, I can’t keep that stuff straight)-
Houseowners deal with many issues that are foreign to apartment and condo dwellers. Beyond the seemingly endless (and often expensive) hassles associated with purchasing and moving into a home, one then has to deal with some combination of tasks which include: trash disposal, lawn maintenance, appliance repair and maintenance, outdoor holiday decoration placement and removal, basement flooding, HVAC maintenance, “Mischief Night” soaping and eggings, neighbors’ rogue pets, and on and on. But this is the time of year where you “make some of that back.”
The holiday season for apartment and condo dwellers might as well be renamed the “Tipping Season.” Every person that works in and services the entire building (and parking garage if you have one), expects a hefty tip this time of year. A reward for a job well done (or perhaps some insurance for good service in the year to come). Many of these people are relatively invisible for 11 months of the year but like clockwork they’ll appear in your vicinity several times between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. You’ll get a hearty “Hello!” and smile and even a handshake with eye contact from some of them as they happen to be there vacuuming in front of your door, getting to that old maintenance request, tidying up the lobby or offering to help with a package. Wonderful, friendly busy staff as far as the eye can see. Much like waiters and waitresses, the tip is essentially an expected part of their compensation so you’re a heel if you stiff them.
But how much to tip? When? Who? How do you appropriately “slip them the cash?” Despite literally hundreds of years of doorman buildings and other apartment complexes with staffers on the books, there has been no progress on exactly how to do this “tip drill” well. Does each one get the same or do the people that know your name get more? Is there a “class system” in which doormen get the big dough and maintenance gets 50% less? Can you send a big check or bag of cash to some management flunky and trust them to divvy it up fairly? What’s this year’s “rate?” $100 each? $200? $50 due to Obama and the recession? Does the Super really deserve $500 (after all, he already makes more than everybody else, right?)? Do I slip a $20 to the weekend substitute parking guy?
It’s crazy! Don’t you already pay a “maintenance” fee each year for these services? Even if you want to do the right thing, there’s no way to know what “the right thing” is. Ask most doormen and they’ll shrug and say, “Whatever you think is fair sir.” That’s no help. You may spend thousands of dollars tipping different people and still miss the guy that fixed your toilet during your Superbowl party because you forgot what he looked like (note: you’ll know if that happened the next time you desperately need his services and he’s conveniently unavailable btw).
So to all you house-owners out there, be happy this holiday season knowing that this is your time… a time where you can relax in your home and enjoy the holidays while your apartment-dwelling counterparts are struggling with the all that goes with the “Tipping Season.”
I think there is an emerging scandal that needs attention. The “Gate-ing” of non-“Gate”-worthy scandals is a growing epidemic and it’s making me angry. It is an insult to former President Richard Milhous Nixon, G. Gordon Liddy, and the rest of the Watergate gang to try to “-Gate” these minor scandals/dust-ups and put them on the level of the the G-Men’s “work” back in the 70s. It’s the 40th Anniversary of the original “Gate” for crying out loud, so it’s time to act… and I intend to!
So which scandals qualify for “-Gate” status? Let’s evaluate a small sampling (10), of the “best” of the many contenders:
–Travelgate at the White House began in May 1993 and really got the “-Gate” business going when seven employees of the White House Travel Office were fired and replaced with friends of the Clintons. During multiple investigations the discovery of reportedly false statements made by the first lady drove the Clintons to reinstate most of the employees and remove the Clinton associates from the travel office. A 7-year+ investigation involving the White House, FBI, multiple Special Counsels, and the Attorney General = YES, it’s “-Gate”-worthy.
–Troopergate began with the allegations by two Arkansas state troopers that they arranged sexual liaisons for then-governor Bill Clinton and the scandal escalated to include salacious and serious accusations regarding Paula Jones (who was paid $850K by the President), Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, and White House intern Monica Lewinsky (leading to his impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1998. YES
–Spygate was born when with the New England Patriots were found to be secretly taping NY Jets (and likely other teams), signals to gain an unfair advantage. I would have originally voted NO to “-Gate” status for this but upon further review the facts do show an amazing pattern: 3-0 in Super Bowls while spying and cheating, 0-2 in Super Bowls since caught cheating. That’s a YES.
–Bagelgate occurred at a Fortune 500 company’s Annual Meeting in New York when the regular practice of serving breakfast at the stockholder meeting was changed by the incoming CEO, angering long-time stockholders who typically would make a day of it by eating at the meeting, voting their shares (or single share of stock in some cases), and catching a matinee at the theater. The Q&A was dominated by elderly stockholders asking the new CEO why there were no bagels or other breakfast items provided for them at this year’s meeting. Hilarious, but not a “-Gate” – NO
–Nipplegate – Singer Justin Timberlake revealed Janet Jackson’s right breast to 89.8 million viewers in a staged “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII causing an uproar and national debate about decency in modern culture as well as FCC fines for CBS. The most viewed breast and nipple in recorded history = YES
–Editgate – NBC TV edited a 911 recording in a way that made the motivation for the shooting of Trayvon Martin appear racial. Powerful case but not “-Gate-worthy”-NO
–Nannygate – A 1993 political controversy over nomination of Zoë Baird and near-nomination of Kimba Wood for U.S. Attorney General were withdrawn due to their hiring of illegal aliens as nannies or the failure to pay taxes for them. The soon-to-be chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. government and head of the United States Department of Justice breaking the law?… YES
–Paterno/Spanier-gate at Penn State (hey, that rhymes!) – too soon to say but the coverup to hide the actions of a pedophile coach looks extensive and linked to the highest levels of power. TBD
– Camillagate – Scandal which resulted from a tape of a telephone conversation between the married Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles in 1993; the tabloids leaked the details of an intimate recording in which Prince Charles told Camilla that he longed to be her tampon. I’m still speechless about the content but not quite a “-Gate” – NO
– Weinergate – U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account linked to a picture of a bulging penis (in underwear). Weiner said his account had been hacked, but later admitted he sent the tweet; numerous other lewd photographs from the married congressman were later “revealed.” All-time great NY Post tabloid headline (“HIDE THE WEINER”), but not a “-Gate” –so… NO
OK, so our analysis of these 10 media-anointed “-Gate” scandals shows that only half of them met the standard set by “all the President’s men.” And these are only a handful of the dozens and dozens that people dare to bestow with the vaunted “-Gate” suffix. This is Watergate we’re talking here… the biggest coverup in american government history; to besmirch it with Weinergates and other inferiors is tantamount to insulting the constitution itself. It’s not right. It will not stand. Why? I’ll tell you why… Because I’m here, I’m angry and I’m not gonna take it anymore!
UPDATE: Since the publishing of this entry several new unworthy “gates” have emerged (which I won’t detail here), and a new “one-to watch” – namely, “Deflate-gate.” It seems a ballboy at the mighty USC Trojans football program deflated half the footballs (the ones USC QB Matt Barkley would throw), for the recent USC-Oregon football game. You see, a football slightly deflated below official specs is easier to grip, throw and catch than a typical new game ball. Results? Already considered a top QB prospect USC’s Barkley exploded for 303 passing yards and 3 TD passes… in the 1st half! At half-time, officials discovered the cheating and the seeds of “Deflate-gate” were born. USC coach Lane Kiffin and everyone else with the program claim the ballboy was a “lone pin-man” who inserted that pin and masterminded the deflatement. We should all follow this carefully to see if this one becomes worthy of the “Gate” suffix.
President Obamney (I’m not sure who won yet), I feel that if the rest of us have to balance our checkbooks each month (and year), our country should too.
Call me crazy but I believe that the USA can find a way to survive on a meager $2.5 trillion/year (or whatever the expected revenue is next year). Go through every line item the way we workers do with our own budgets and make adult decisions about what you absolutely have to pay for and what is a “nice to have” that will have to wait until you get a raise in revenue or an unexpected bonus. If you and the leaders of the House and Senate can honestly say that every line item in that proposed budget is 100% required this year, then I’ll personally bet you everything I own that you’re full of crap. The size of the debt itself is the next economy and retirement-crushing disaster-in-waiting and you and the House and Senate were elected to address just this kind of tough problem.
Please don’t violate the “No Asshole Rule” and put politics ahead of doing the job right. I don’t care how you do it or who gets the credit and neither should you. If a “line item veto” is how it will get done, then I’ll support the President (and Speaker and Senate Majority Leader if needed) getting that power and I don’t care which party any of them are from.
This isn’t rocket science or difficult to understand and you all know it. Once the budget is balanced for the year, THEN consider options for tackling the existing debt. Increasing taxes and adding those additional short-term $ to the budget kitty will only increase spending, not decrease the debt in my opinion and isn’t that the point, to eliminate the debt itself?
Find a way to spend within your current means and then I’ll support really reviewing all options (including new and higher taxes and fees), to raise revenue for the specific purpose of eliminating the national debt itself.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is cast as a benevolent Mr. Mom or “He-Nanny” who watches out for New Yorkers, wipes their mouths and fannies, and keeps them safe from evil sugar and 2nd hand smoke. I’m here to tell you that something else may be afoot… something more sinister and malevolent.
What is certain is that he’s trying to make NYers fat; consider these events:
-He cancelled Halloween and trick or treating so now people will eat all the candy themselves and get fat.
-He still has Central Park closed so we can’t exercise there (and make an adult decision as to whether a road or path is “safe”). No exercise = fat.
-The YMCA is again closed today which probably is due to some sort of government meddling or funding or tax issues (the ‘C’ stands for Christian so you never know). No exercise = fat.
-And with no more smoking or large soft drinks allowed, people are drinking more high calorie beer and Red Bull every day! More calories = fat and since smoking also curbs appetite, this = double fat.
It looks to me like NYC’s caring “Nanny Bloomberg” is secretly fattening us all up Hansel & Gretel style for some nefarious purpose. I’m angry and a bit scared but I must say that my giant bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins looks soooooo tasty that I may yet fall into Mrs. Doubtberg’s evil trap! You’ve been warned.
When did baby carriages and strollers start to come outfitted like Bradley Fighting Vehicles being reinforced for DMZ combat? Do we really need strollers with, “coil spring and elastomer core shock absorbers and pneumatic tires with schrader valves?”
These tricked out behemoths are taking over our sidewalks (which are already made smaller because every bar, deli and diner now has a Frenchie style “sidewalk café” table or two in front). The last time I checked they were still called sideWALKs, not sideSITs and they certainly weren’t designed for NASCAR-style stroller racing by Manhattan mommies in their sparkling Skechers Shape-ups.
I thought I had seen it all in the strollers as monster trucks category but I was wrong. I’ve now also seen a triple decker model as well… that’s right, a double stroller with a 3rd crow’s nest seat bolted on above the double (I would assume that the kid that gets that “pole position” spot earned it at potty training time-trial qualifying).
What’s next? Motorized baby cycles with sidecars à la Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes? I sincerely hope that just by saying that I haven’t inspired Vespa or BMW to enter the fray.
Update: Since my first battles with these combat-ready baby and toddler tanks that were imported from NJ or Long Island a new menace has been added to the war zone – it is called “Giggle” and it produces all manner of sidewalk carnage-causing machines in my own freaking neighborhood!
This cannot stand! We must rise up and take back our sidewalks or who knows what is next! Who’s with me?
I saw that eBay has unveiled a new logo and re-branding. A bold, dramatic new logo and brand? Ummm, no; same colors and name with a friendly lower case san serif font. Zzzzzzzzz -the bold, pioneering Internet phenomenon has just spent millions to put me to sleep. They waited 17 years for that?
Speaking of pervasive consumer brands, AIG (yes that government-bailed-them-out-’cause-they’re-too-big-to-fail colossus), is re-logoing and rebranding too! A kinder, gentler san serif font will make everyone forget the unpleasantness a few years back (and the $100B they owe us) and buy their insurance now, right? I can just see the boardroom scene now… AIG Exec:”Everyone will see that we’re at least doing SOMETHING; that’s gotta be good! What’s a few dozen mil when you owe billions anyway-let’s do it!” An actual name change would have at least confused half of us enough to forget their past “crimes” but no, it’s still the letters AIG in a box.
Arby’s has joined the party too but don’t panic; they’ve kept the delicious loaves of compressed roast beef and the familiar “hat” and just replaced the old Arby’s font with a warmer, nicer all lower-case san serif font. Friendlier fonts make me hungry, how ’bout you?
Microsoft, JCPenney, CA, Polycom, Cisco and on and on have decided to switch to clean, warm, friendly new logo fonts that just scream, “We’re hip and modern but still warm and approachable!!!” [I’d mention the Tropicana re-branding apocalypse a few years back but that team sleeps with the marketing fishes now and it’s bad luck to speak badly of the dead]. A minor logo change for a few million (or more), bucks plus all that effort to change every sign, collateral piece, business card, etc. must be the super-secret marketing ROI tactic for which we’ve all been waiting. Look, many brands need work to improve how customers and prospects perceive them but I’d estimate that 1/10th of 1% of brands really need a logo change/update to accomplish it.
Am I angry about this new wave of friendly san serif-fonted logo projects (and do I feel that “depraved indifference” marketing should investigated and prosecuted)? Well, I’m certainly shaking my head about the millions and millions being spent on these efforts but I can’t be too mad because I have friends at Lippincott, Siegel + Gale and other branding shops and they need to eat too, right? I am disappointed that so many trained corporate marketing leaders so predictably take the lazy (but expensive), logo refresh route when they know the real solution lies elsewhere.
Full Disclosure Notice: I also actually went to the MoMA’s exhibit, “50 Years of Helvetica” and watched the documentary so I guess I’m at least a closeted san serif fan [Q. Can I love the font itself but hate how it’s being used?].
Anyway, when I see these and other “re-branding to appear to be doing something” exercises they all bring to mind a wise saying I heard back in the 90s: “A dead fish floating down a river shows movement, but not progress.”
A river of expensive dead fishes indeed.
NOTE: If you love new branding and logos (with great commentary), check out the “Brand New” blog. I read it and snagged most of these images from there.
I was re-watching the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever this week and after thinking about it, I got a bit angry about legality, polite convention and political correctness.
A few thoughts/questions to ponder came to mind:
-Is it illegal (or just frowned upon) to use your neighbor’s cable and wi-fi if it’s readily accessible in your apartment?
-Is it illegal (or just frowned upon) to quietly detach (and keep) a $20 bill stuck to a vision-impaired adult’s shoe?
-Is it illegal (or just frowned upon) to reverse your college floormate’s peephole and organize “Cinéma Vérité” viewing parties in the hall when his girlfriend visits during the day?
-Is it illegal (or just frowned upon) to loudly pass gas while immediately adjacent to law enforcement?
Clearly these are all “6 to one, half a dozen to the other” scenarios, right? Of course.
Why am I angry? Because in “The Hangover” they all automatically dismissed and persecuted Alan for expressing his perfectly valid thoughts on whether card counting (and masterbating on airplanes for that matter), are illegal or just “frowned upon.”
It’s incredibly unjust for today’s “nanny state” citizens to force their radically “polite” views on others!