30 October 2014

I long for the day ... n'est pas?

Younger me:           Old man, I have become you.  
40-Something Me:    Cripes, when was that?!
Younger me:           Dunno, probably when you noticed that your feet actually hurt after                                                   sitting for periods of long stretches
40-Something Me:    Yeah, but I'm so much smarter than you.
Younger me:           Maybe, but I have a better memory than you, and after your divorce, way                                         more money.  
40-Something Me:   What were we just talking about? 
 Younger me:          I was watching as you were becoming a bit of a nostalgic alarmist 
I long for the day when I don't have to hear about which set of genitalia the CEO of Apple prefers to think (or sit) upon.  Do we all have to be noticed? (see above image.) Do we all have to shout it to the world that we're special?  Let me say this: I am ordinary!  I am a hetero male, who tans easily, is quite balding, has a layer of male gut syndrome that shames him from wearing Simon-Cowell-too-tight t-shirts, and guess what?  No one cares about my sexual identity gender politics ... nor should they.  Sure, be different, go ahead, but be yourself.  Don't let some group of self-appointed, politically correct mafioso thought police tell you HOW to be different.  Whew.

I long for the day when I don't have to watch with utter incredulity an alleged "nurse" riding a bike around in her home state of Maine after returning from an Ebola hot zone, thumbing her nose at authorities who have given her a 21-day quarantine to protect the commonwealth, er, commonhealth? of the Pine Tree State's citizenry.  If she's dying (no pun intended) to stretch out the ole hammies on a velocipede, then the good people of these United States, I include you and me Dear Reader, are all too happy to place one spinning machine straight from Equinox in her "utilitent" (trademark FatScribe 2014).  Wow.

Gone are the days when one could have reasonably expected our sitting president to actually enforce the border laws of these United States, preventing the spread of lesser-than-Ebola (but just as deadly) diseases from taking the lives of our children, i.e., the enterovirus EV-68, instead of looking for a politically expedient pretext to sway and swell the voting rolls by streaming 150,000 Spanish-speaking 'tweens (medias en espanol, Estimado Lector) across several countries' borders and legalizing unilaterally, sua sponte, the nearly 12 million illegals here now.  How many children were put in harm's way, I wonder, by the Administration's advocating such an asinine public policy?  Dang.

Fewer and far betweener are the teachers in our states that actually care for the needs of their student charges over the desires and tactics of the teacher unions. One dear family friend of ours makes $135k per annum for 9 month's worth of kindergarten work.  Love her to death, and I love that she loves to teach 5-yr-olds, but $135k!?  Fugly.

Not a day goes by that I can't imagine that our collective brood might be better off going to a trade school.  Are they actually gaining ANY real value from their college degrees.  Sure, those with college degrees, and graduate degrees, earn plenty more than those without, but does the $100,000 and $200,000 and $300,000 in student loans really off-set the debtor nation we're rapidly building and leaving behind for our grandchildren?  Really? Whoa.

I long for the day when my father handed me a spreadsheet explicating in granular detail how much my community college and state college cost him, viz.,  roughly $8,000. My oldest, when he was in preschool, cost us $18k per year. A senior in high school, he's now looking at monster student loans for undergrad, which I pray to goodness that he choose a community college first, and then an affordable state school.  He has the potential for a quite generous scholarship in another state with a school that likes the cut of his jib, but housing costs are quite expensive then as well. Ugh.

Just one of those days, Dear Reader.  Just one of those days where we long for simpler times ... if they ever existed, n'est pas?  Maybe your list above is the EXACT opposite as mine, and you disagree with everything I listed ... still ... we've all had that tipping point day, where we just think, "When did this become the norm for us? Where did normal go?"  Whatever normal is for you and yours, Dear Reader.

17 October 2014

It's them ... ahem

It’s them.

Ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder. Yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder.
Wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder, wonderbread. Dunder, dunder, dunder, dunder, dunderhead.
Slender, slender, slender, slender, slender, slender. Tender, tender, tender, tender, tender, tender.
Gander, gander, gander, gander, gerrymandering. Pander, pander, pander, pander, pandering.

Ponder yonder the wonder of those dunders, er, slender tenders, gerrymandering to pander. One finger at them and three, ahem, at me.

Untamed Beasty ... Redux

There stood beside me a grove of yellow mango shrubs, each the size of a small boy.

In each moment I stood motionless watching, the weight of it all pressed down on my head, shoulders, and feet (burrowing deeper into the dark wet soil). An increased burden of helplessness; an impotence in its purest state overwhelmed as I heard the waves upon the shore somewhere behind me.

It was as if I could intuit each moment (not seconds, not time, but the single idea or notion of an individual and distinct nano event) as they passed by -- or rather were lit then extinguished -- one by one, like wood matches you get from a steak house, a half-empty box, rattling around. Each of them as important as its predecessor or successor, lined up like lemmings about to migrate to some eternal judgment that they surely would not pass. Each one wanted, yet wasted.

These moments pressed in on my conscience; the box never emptying, just rattling with fresh moments to be shaken to see if there were any left, then pulled hard against the box, then dropped down to the earth like manna from Heaven with a fleeting trail of smoke and a last gasp upon impact.




03 October 2014

My Corporate Communication Philosophy.

As a marketing and communications professional, I've written dozens of press releases (and ordered, edited, and published dozens more); created pitchbooks and presentations for VCs and angel investors alike; have drafted corporate communications on behalf of and from the office of CxO of some sort during celebrations and catastrophes, as well as massive hirings and firings; created and overhauled corporate vision; drafted and redlined hundreds of contracts and agreements of various forms; and have written responses to government agencies, judges, and opposing counsel.

How you phrase, parse, preach or pitch your message is hugely important, both to your organization as well as to you.  So, here, over Coffee Bean vanilla lattes in Malibu, I thought I'd put out a quick primer, as best as one can draft such a document sitting in 78 F degree weather amongst the beautiful, rich, homeless, recently spotted actors and athletes du jour -- talkin' 'bout you David Duchovny and Blake Griffin -- illegal aliens, er, I mean, non-documented though decently paid workers, unpaid though over-represented screenwriters, and bikers hellbent for trouble (lycra and leather alike).

Here now for your perusal, my very quick, yet heartfelt, communication bromide and offering:

I believe in thoughtful comity over cruel quips. 

None of us are perfect, no not one.

If we’re a liberal, very advanced company, and our consumers are not (some of them), we respect them and their traditional worldview. If we’re a conservative company, and our consumers are not (some of them), we respect them and their forward- thinking worldview.

We do not talk down to potential consumers simply because they think different from or hold opposing views than we do. Even potential consumers that will never be our customers are part of our body politic, market, and hemispheric.

We protect our employees, ALL of them.

We respect our consumers, ALL of them.

We respect ourselves, ALL the time, and therefore demand the best in behavior from ourselves and our employees, especially in the way we communicate with each other, our clients, our consumers, and our competition.

We have a worldview, we let others know what it is, we're proud of it, and we hold fast to it. We don’t change our principals because some, several, or serious numbers decide that they don’t like us, what we did/do, or what they perceive we stand for; we hold on to our moral compass whilst remaining true to our core of respect, even if / while others do not respect us.

We are having ongoing conversations with ourselves, our employees, our colleagues, our consumers, our community, our competition … at all times. We speak truth to power and we powerfully seek the truth in how we operate. Our conversation therefore is peppered with urbane wit and seasoned with compassionate drive to succeed in the marketplace of commerce – and ideas — whilst having fun.

Damn it! 


01 September 2014

11 May 2014

Charitable giving should be shrouded in mystery ... n'est pas?

Dear Reader, an engrossing article to be found/read over at Bloomberg by one Zachary Mider.  Loved every second of this petite mystery.  To be enjoyed on a wonderfully languid and relaxing "Happy Mother's Day!" day. Worth the read, I promise.  Link to Bloomberg below the tease/fold.  
The $13 Billion Mystery Angels  By Zachary R. Mider May 08, 2014
For many years, a Los Angeles psychoanalyst to the stars named Milton Wexler led the fight against Huntington’s disease, a rare and fatal congenital illness. His Hereditary Disease Foundation didn’t have much money, so he attracted scientists to his cause by inviting them to parties where they could mingle with his celebrity friends.

In 1997 a single donor began charting a new direction for the research effort into Huntington’s. He poured millions and eventually hundreds of millions of dollars into an aggressive search for a cure. At first he worked with Wexler’s organization, then split off and established his own network of nonprofit foundations. He hired a former banker named Robi Blumenstein to run them. In place of Wexler’s salons, where the talk had flowed freely from chromosomes to the arts, Blumenstein offered conferences with PowerPoint presentations on promising therapies and partnerships with major drugmakers such as Pfizer (PFE). “The word on the street was, wow, this is great. There’s this rich guy who’s creating this virtual biotech that’s tackling H.D.,” says Nathan Goodman, a scientist in Seattle. “My God, our prayers have been answered.”

By 2011 the donor was spending more than $100 million a year on Huntington’s, more than the National Institutes of Health was investing in a cure. Like everyone else, Goodman was grateful for the infusion of money—the disease had killed his father-in-law. He nevertheless found it frustrating that he couldn’t talk to the donor about his spending priorities. He says he grew more curious when he noticed Blumenstein at research conferences accompanied by a middle-aged, bearded man. A few years ago in Palm Springs, Calif., Goodman says, Blumenstein introduced the man to a group of attendees as the “donor’s representative.” He gave the man’s name as “Andrew.”

The unknown man’s donations to the fight against Huntington’s, it turns out, were just a small part of his generosity. 

(continue reading at Bloomberg!)