January 28, 2010
Why the i?
|[Posted by ]|
So far, the more people learn about Apple's new iPad, the less they want it. Apple has some crack marketers, so maybe in a few months I'll change my tune, but for now I think it's a big fail.
Anyway, the iPad did make me wonder why Apple names their products with the little "i"? What does it stand for? After a little research, I found that opinions vary. Originally, the iMac was so named with the "i" standing for Internet because of how easy the iMac was going to get you online.
With the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, etc. some say the "i" now stands for "interactive" or for the consumer himself as in "me, myself and I."
Steve Jobs once said the "i" stands for "idiot". That's actually kind of ironic given some of the initial reception to the iPad.
Personally, I'm going with the "my, myself and I" definitive: it's my phone, my pod, my tunes. But not my pad. :)
January 27, 2010
State of the Union vs. the Union of the Snake
|[Posted by ]|
I would rather watch Duran Duran's Union of the Snake video than tonight's State of the Union address. It isn't even close. In a lovely table format, here's why:
|Category||State of the Union||Union of the Snake|
|Length||At least 30 minutes||4 minutes and 16 seconds|
|2nd in Command|
|Lizard Men?||No (although some of the older members of Congress are getting close)||Yes|
|Can you dance to it?||No, but you can stand to applaud at pre-determined intervals||Yes!|
|Spin?||Every single word, for hours on end||Like a record baby. Right round. Round round.|
January 26, 2010
Over my dead body
|[Posted by ]|
So apparently this map is all of the rage. According to its proponents, the advantages of the proposal are that it:
- Ends overrepresentation of small states and underrepresention of large states in presidental voting and in the US Senate
- Preserves the historical structure of the electoral college and the United States unique federal system, balancing power between levels of government
- States could be redistricted after each census - just like house seats are distributed now
And, lucky us, the disadvantages are just:
- Some county names are duplicated in new states
- Local governments would have to deal with shift in state laws and procedures
And that's it! There's no sense of you know, totally destroying the concept of states. Some of these people need to read The Genius of the People and start to understand that states chose to join the United States of America. As such, the constitution itself was designed to give smaller states some checks against the population power of bigger states.
Also, looking at this map, I see that my hometown is suddenly right on the border of "St. Croix" and "Green Bay". While it's true that we're also on the great pop/soda divide, how practical is it that cities would switch from state to state depending on the year? I mean, beyond duplicate county names different states also have different laws. Imagine owning a liquor store on the border. Some years you might not be able to open on Sundays. Some years you would. Ridiculous. Not to mention little things like taxes, insurance, etc. Nah, that's not a disadvantage at all.
And that doesn't even get into the fact that for many of us, our state isn't a mere congressional inconvenience. It's a part of us. I'm from Wisconsin. I'm not from "Green Bay" and I sure as hell aren't from "St. Croix". Them's fighting words. We joke about Minnesconsin, but as anyone can tell you there are fundamental differences between the people of these two great states. The folks who refer to us as "flyover country" may not understand that, but the people on the ground certainly do.
Simply put, policy wonks are trying to fix something that isn't broken. We're not a democracy. However, our representative republic seems to be working out okay.
January 25, 2010
Is Favre my W?
|[Posted by ]|
I'm still Facebook friends with one of my friend's sometimes ex-girlfriend (I'd kind of like to un-friend her, but uh, she knows where I live and I'm a little afraid of her). Anyway, her status says:
To all of you bitter, sad, lonely "friends" who can't fill their days with anything more than tearing down a seasoned football quarterback, I say, "You are sad and lonely, and actually, most of your ridiculous facebook posts are just as ridiculous as you are, Vikings related or not." Thanks, and sleep well.
Can I just tell you how much I hate that attitude? "You care about something I don't - therefore your life isn't as awesome as mine".
But, I do have to ask myself this: are the Vikings my 2008 election? Is Brett Favre my George W. Bush? Am I suffering from Favre Derangement Syndrome?
I don't think so. In fact, I think the events of last night have purged my soul of a whole lot of hate. In fact, now if I saw Brett Favre crossing the street in front of the Metrodome as I'm driving by, I wouldn't accelerate. I might even wave at him. With five whole fingers!
Anyway, for a season that didn't end in a Packer Super Bowl victory it was a whole lotta fun. I look forward to our annual State of the Packers address. And I will sleep well. Thanks!
January 24, 2010
An important announcement from the Department of Green Bay Packers Fans Mental Security (GBPFMS)
|[Posted by ]|
The Vikings Super Bowl threat level is now green.
January 21, 2010
A Packer Fan's Guide to Conference Championship Weekend
|[Posted by ]|
The NFL Conference Championship games are this weekend. Packers fans, like the fans of 27 other disappointed teams, don't have a clear rooting interest. Well, actually we do, it's called "anyone but the Vikings", but I thought I'd look beyond him and break down the teams on the things that really matter.
1. Coach most likely to do something stupid and/or funny Like most red blooded Americans, I LOVE LOVE LOVE funny coach videos. Of the final four coaches it's really down to Minnesota's Chilly or New York's Rex Ryan. I think Chilly will do something stupid, but not in a funny way. He's just not a funny guy. Ryan, on the other hand, seems ripe for a future Coors Light ad.
2. Wisconsin connections Besides Favre, Minnesota has Wisconsin turncoats Brad Childress and Darrell Bevell. But that's the wrong kind of connection. The Colts have famed former Badger/clipboard holder Jim Sorgi, but he's on Injured Reserve. The Saints feature former Badger Jonathan Casillas and most Badger fans still have a soft spot in their hearts for Drew Brees and his epic battles against Wisconsin while at Purdue. The Jets, however, have former Badger and Ladysmith, WI native Jim Leonhard. Leonhard was a walk on at Wisconsin and undrafted by the NFL and yet there he is, making interceptions in big games. You gotta love the guy. Advantage: Jets
3. Cutest Quarterback (for the ladies and gay men) They're all pretty decent looking guys:
But, unless you have something against tall, dark & handsome, you've gotta go with Mark Sanchez. Advantage: Jets
4. Sexiest cheerleaders (for the men and gay ladies) Again, they're all lovely:
The Vikings and Colts cheerleaders basically look exactly the same. The Saints girls look kind of sweet, which seems wrong for New Orleans, don't you think? New York's cheerleaders look like they have the right bland of sass and skank. Advantage: Jets
5. Most deserving fans The obvious choice here is New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina or Minnesota because they've sucked for so long. But, I'm going to go with the Jets because they haven't won anything since Namath and they've been forced to play in Giants stadium for years. How humiliating! Advantage: Jets
6. Win that will piss off Favre the most If the Saints win, Favre will be mildly pissed. If the Jets win with a rookie QB when they couldn't even make the playoffs with him, Favre will be moderately pissed. If the Colts win - that will put Peyton Manning one step above Favre in everyone's eyes. Favre will be super pissed. Advantage: Colts
7. Best cuisine As far as I know, Indy doesn't have any special foods. Minnesota has delicious hot dishes, New York has pizza but New Orleans trumps them all with Jambalaya!! Advantage: Saints
8. Implications for television comedy Let's see, if Minnesota wins we'll have to sit through more stupid Favre Sears ads. If the Saints win it'll be all over Keeping up with the Kardashians. But, if the Colts win, we might get treated to another Peyton Manning-hosted episode of Saturday Night Live! Advantage: Colts
So there you have it. I thought the Saints were the obvious choice, but when you break it down it seems like we should give the Jets a little piece of our hearts.
January 20, 2010
Take the people seriously
|[Posted by ]|
With the Massachusetts election results in the books and pundits everywhere trying to understand what it means, Ann Althouse says:
Poor Obama! It's the eve of the anniversary of his inauguration. The State of the Union was supposed to be very grand. And now what? He has been repudiated! He made this election a referendum on the Democrats agenda, and the people of Massachusetts, the most liberal state, gave him a resounding no.
Now, I think that could be good for Obama. He's a man of change. Let him change. I hope he becomes the President I thought he could be when I voted for him. With the midterm elections looming in the fall, he can readjust, set himself apart from Congress. Take the people seriously.
I'm keying in on that last sentence. Take the people seriously. She's saying that Obama was too set on advancing his own agenda - that he took his election as the end point of his engagement with the people rather than just the start of it. I think she's right. For better or worse, we elect a person, not a series of policy statements to be implemented upon election. The President's job isn't to bully his agenda through Congress. He's not a union negotiator or a used car salesman. The President's job is to listen and try to sell his agenda to the American people. He's a marketer. He's gotta soften us up to make it easy for our Senators and Congressmen to vote for what he wants.
So then, my question is if Obama should take us seriously what does that mean? Does it mean he should he listen to our problems and romance us (or scare us) a little, like a Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan would do. Or, does taking us seriously mean that he should come out armed with facts & figures? What works best, an emotional or a rational appeal?
January 19, 2010
Do you really want to be a special snowflake?
|[Posted by ]|
I was at a social media seminar last week. The speaker was some hotshot Canadian and one of her big insights was that we all want to be treated like "special snowflakes". The idea is that your customers expect to have an individual experience at your store or your website. Everyone seemed to agree with this idea, but I don't.
Oh sure, sometimes (i.e. when something breaks) I want to be treated like a queen. But only sometimes. Most of the time I want brands to let me be anonymous. Hell, if coffee shop employees start to get too familiar, I generally find a new coffee shop. I don't want relationships with stores and brands. They're stores, not people!
I think marketing rules & best practices are too often determined by the extroverts of the world. But there are just as many introverts and I suspect there is money to be had in catering to our very different wants and needs. Or hell, at least in giving us the option to opt out of all of the special snowflake nonsense if we want to.
It's like politics. For every unbearable person who posts election crap as their Facebook status for months there are people who shut the hell up. Their votes count just as much as the loudmouths' votes.
It's a stupid marketer who takes the pulse of the consumer based on the comments of the squeakiest wheels. Likewise, it's a stupid politician who caters to the fringes. Most of us like the anonymous middle. When we say "change" we don't really mean it. I actually think James said it well in his comments to an earlier post:
We all have more important things going on in our lives. Why should I care about cap-and-trade when I could be relaxing on my couch, staring at my big screen TV watching Dexter? Why care about so-and-so's latest comments on off shore drilling when I could be spending time with my family? Because honestly, whichever party wins an election, my life will be relatively unchanged. And I like it that way.
January 18, 2010
|[Posted by ]|
Google served up this ad in my GMail today:
It's interesting to see AdWords used as part of a get out the vote campaign, although, it's a little odd that the campaign didn't use any geo-targeting. Am I supposed to call and email all my friends in MA or do they just not care about wasting money?
I feel for the people of Massachusetts. Their whole Senate campaign is about either Kennedy's legacy or about defeating Obama's agenda. Call me hopelessly local, but shouldn't the campaign be about the people of Massachusetts and the potential pork and special deals that these candidates can bring to them? Isn't that what it's all about?
January 17, 2010
Great moments in Vikings history
|[Posted by ]|
January 15, 2010
Our words make us immortal
|[Posted by ]|
A cousin of mine (I haven't met her, but I've talked to her sister and father a very little bit online over the years) was in Haiti visiting a friend when the earthquake hit. My cousin was injured, but okay, but her friend was killed. The friend, Molly, was in Haiti volunteering with Friends of the Orphans and she had been writing about her experiences there.
Her last post was on December 30th and the last line is simply "RACHEL COMES TODAY!!!!" (Rachel is my relative). It's amazing how foreboding that simple sentence is now. Reading her blog is heartbreaking, but it's also heartwarming in a weird way because her thoughts and experiences live on through her writings.
My father died almost seven years ago and it still makes me happy when I come across something he wrote online. In a way, his words make him immortal. My dad wrote about his experiences in the Korean War and a lot of it is still online:
I am an infantry vet of Korea. ... This summer I went to the movie `Saving Private Ryan.' It was really hard to handle and caused many memories to resurface, especially the scene where the medic dies. My daughters asked me why the scene affected me so much. I told them this: `This scene took place 46 years ago - only he was a machine gunner in my company. He was hit in the chest in a mortar barrage 6 feet from me. I got to him first. Can you imagine the shock a 19-year-old gets when I look at O'Donnell's face and see his eyes are rolled around, so only the whites are visible? Do you know the gut-wrenching emotion of hearing him cry for his mother? Do you know the absolute horror of watching his blood bubble out with each dying breath?... Do you know the feeling of utter helplessness when he dies? I'm sorry O'Donnell, I'm sorry we didn't get you out. I know you didn't die in vain, I'm so sorry.
That's not exactly a heartwarming story, but for me it's almost sacred. The fact that my father's words are still out there is so important to me and is still a comfort. I hope that in the time to come that Molly's family will feel that way about her blog.
I wonder how long our content will live on? In a hundred years, will my relatives still be able to read all I've written? If so, what will they know about me (other than that I love lists and hate Brett Favre)? I suppose people might eventually craft "memorial" sites for themselves, but that feels too designed. You are who you are, not who you say you are.
January 14, 2010
66 (on the way to 100) Things I Love About Minnesconsin
|[Posted by ]|
I found an old blog post entitled "100 Things I Love About America" and it inspired me to try to come up with my own list of the 100 Things I Love About Minnesconsin (keep in mind that this is especially challenging in January). So far, I've got 66. I think I need some help for the other 34.
1. Church brats
2. Four seasons
3. The fact that "No" is a two syllable word
4. Meat raffles
5. Spotted Cow
6. The Dalles of the St Croix River
7. TYME machines
8. Frozen lakes dotted with ice fishing shanties
9. Farmer's Markets
10. Duck, Duck, Grey Duck
11. Point Beer
12. Bon Iver
13. The Grain Belt beer sign at the Hennepin Ave. bridge
14. The "Sieve" chant
15. Fish Frys
16. Apostle Islands
17. 30 degree "heat waves"
18. Bockfest (multiple locations)
19. Saddle Mound
21 "On Wisconsin"
22. Indian Summer
23. The crack of melting ice
25. St. Anthony Falls
26. Wild rice
27. The sparkle of fresh snow
28. Corn on the cob
29. State Street
30. Light blue August skies
31. The first Leinie's Summer Shandy of spring
32. Polite drivers
33. Cheese Curds (fried)
34. Cheese Curds (fresh)
35. The Current
36. Beer tents
37. Devil's Lake
38. The Wisconsin Capitol building
39. Buying liquor on a Sunday (Wisconsin)
40. Sampling liquor in a store (Minnesota)
41. Lambeau Field
42. The Stone Arch Bridge
43. Outdoor baseball
44. The Skyway
45. Surly Coffee Bender
46. The Alpine Valley parking lot
47. Paul Westerberg
48. Minnesota State Fair
49. Maple syrup
50. Hot dishes
51. Wisconsin Dells
52. The Great Lakes
53. Dive bars with old Schiltz Beer signs
54. Polkas, especially the the "Too Fat" polka
55. The Rudolph grotto
57. Piggly Wiggly
58. The horsey section at both Fleet Farm and Farm & Fleet
60. Ice roads
61. Bars along lakes & rivers
63. State Parks
64. The "Bears Love Honey" Leinie's billboards on I-94
65. Bong Recreational Area
66. Donnay Farm chevre
January 10, 2010
|[Posted by ]|
Here I am, if any of my fellow Packers fans want to join me.
January 08, 2010
The way we were
|[Posted by ]|
I found this old post about the brightest sports stars in the Wisconsin sky. Reading it now is embarrassing. It's like reading a love letter to an old boyfriend. I can't believe that I ever felt that way about him. What was I thinking?
Brett retired, but he'll always be a Packer. He may not even realize it, but the entire state of Wisconsin will always have his back. It's what we do.
Anyway, with the playoffs coming up I was thinking about who the most popular Packers are now. The top four are obvious: Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver, Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews. But who's number five? I was thinking maybe Nick Barnett, but what about Johnny Jolly, A.J. Hawk, Gregg Jennings, Mark Tauscher or Atari Bigby? Or maybe it's a newer guy like Jermichael Finley? Inquiring Packers minds want to know!
January 07, 2010
Going to a Happy Place
|[Posted by ]|
In the movie Happy Gilmore, when the going got rough, Happy retreated to his Happy Place. In Happy's Happy Place, his beloved Granny won big at the slots, his half-naked girlfriend beckoned to him with a full pitcher of beer in each hand and a cowboy midget rolled by on a tricycle.
After reading these two columns at the Cap Times this week I think that Madison liberals are doing the same thing. Instead of little people, however, their Happy Place consists of the good old days when they could call for W. to get impeached and bitch about the 2000 election.
I understand. Obama's been in office almost a year now and all he has to show for it is a Nobel Peace Prize. The troops are still in Iran and Afghanistan. The terrorists still hate us. Gitmo is still open. "Don't ask don't tell" is still the military's policy. We're not doing anything about the "threat" of global warming. The health care reform that may be passed is a watered down joke that does nothing to actually reform health care. Unemployment is hovering around 10% and the main people getting government handouts are bankers and car company CEOs. Awesome.
No wonder they're enraged. They voted for Hope and Change and got More Of The Same.
But after they came back into the light, I hope they do something about it. The talk about the 2010 election is about how the GOP is going to win back a bunch of seats a la 1994. I assume that'll drive liberals to fight like hell to keep their incumbents in place. That's a huge mistake.
To me, this coming election shouldn't be about replacing one party with the other. Both parties have failed the American people. This should be about getting rid of every damn one of them.
I hope liberals vote early and often in Dem primaries and nominate candidates who actually want to change things. Nominate people who are all about gay marriage, real national health care and isolationism. Likewise, I hope the GOP nominates a slew of fiscal conservatives and gun nuts. I don't really even care who wins between them. If the major parties don't nominate acceptable candidates, vote for a 3rd party who does. Please! If we keep sending the same people back to Washington it doesn't take a genius to predict that nothing will ever change. And then we'll all be seeking out our Happy Place. By the way, mine involves squirrels in tiny little outfits. Just sayin'.
January 04, 2010
Death, Taxes & the Vikings
|[Posted by ]|
Like death & taxes, one thing you can count on is the Minnesota Vikings. Year after year, they'll tease their fans with the hope that this is the year they'll finally win the Super Bowl.
As a Packers fan, it's great to see the Vikings yank their fans' chains. It's even more fun because their fans don't really even need a yanking. They shift with the latest score anyway. Check out the latest Vikings fan poll on the Star Tribune:
And compare that to the polls we highlighted a few weeks ago.
It's not that Vikings fans will never learn. It's that they learn and then forget and then learn again and then forget again. It's the Eternal Sunshine of the Vikings Mind.
I think the only thing that will break the chain of abuse is the team's inevitable move to California.