Saturday, January 10, 2004

After Midnight

Forget midnight. Try after 8:00PM it starts to get tough to keep my eyes open -- one of those downsides to getting up at the crack of dawn. Last night I was fighting the good fight with my kid about going to bed at his usual 9:00 and he is so keen on pushing the limit lately. I was tougher though. I had him tucked into his bed down the hall, reading his new Lego catalogue by 8;58. By 9:05, it was lights out for him and some singing -- a few choruses of "This Land Is Your Land" and a "Down in the Valley" and he was out. I sing him to sleep most nights, old habit since he was little and I see no reason to change it.

With a below zero night swirling around outside, no better place to wait for a phone call I was expecting than under a pile of down comforters in bed, right.? I remember seeing the clock at 9:18 feeling so proud of myself for still being awake, since I got up at 4:30 that morning ... and ... then 9:19 rollled around and then ...

Darn it! One of these days I'll be able to stay up like a real grown-up!

Friday, January 09, 2004

Hilary Duff In The Node!

You gotta love your referrer log. It lets you see the wacky searches people do which lead them to your site. I'm pretty much certain they were probably looking for Hillary Duff in the nude ... but I really like the idea of her in the NODE!

2000 New Hampshire Primary

It's fun strolling down memory lane. Here's an interesting piece about how Bush lost in New Hampshire. His chief political strategist called New Hampshire citizens "cranky" -- I think for Texans this has something to do with the fact that New Hampshire folks can stand the cold, but are not easily schmoozed on a bitter cold night. They're too smart for that crap.
The numbers could scarcely have been worse for Bush. Bush aides and campaign spokespeople had been predicting that he would either win New Hampshire or only lose by a few percentage points. Instead, he got crushed by Senator John McCain. The eighteen-point loss has sent the Bush camp into a tailspin and forced a radical re-tooling of the campaign. It has also put the spotlight on Rove, who was bragging just ten weeks before -- during a luncheon here in Austin before the Texas Civil Justice League -- that the Bush campaign could afford to ignore New Hampshire, because Bush's organization in the other primary states was so good. Rove called New Hampshire voters "cranky" and predicted that Bush would have the Republican nomination wrapped up by the end of this month.

Surely Someone Has A Nice Word To Say

Someone has to say something nice about Karl Rove -- but I'm having trouble finding anything. I'll keep digging.
Karl Rove may or may not be the political genius for whom the national press has altogether swooned. In the wake of the midterm elections, it's easy to forget his boss' 20-point loss to John McCain in the 2000 New Hampshire primary, or Bush's premature victory lap in the closing week of that year's November election, visiting states that weren't in play while his lead over Al Gore evaporated. And it's easy to forget the vicious campaign of racial and sexual innuendo with which Rove derailed McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary.

Do Voters And Journalists Really Remember NOTHING?

I don't think so. The Net makes it a lot easier to remember things.

Here's a piece where Robert Reich talks about how Karl Rove counts on voters and journalists being real idiots. How can a person work in politics and hate the other players in his business -- actually loathe voters and journalists -- it's amazing. It's like being a baker and hating people who eat cake and people who make sugar. What gives?

Count on the American public's (and the media's) inability to remember anything from one year to the next. The Rove machine gave Bush tough talking points on corporate fraud when the newspapers were full of Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom and Tyco, and when reporters were asking uncomfortable questions about Bush's and Cheney's own corporate dealings. Rove played for time, assuming that warmongering about Iraq (carefully orchestrated to begin just a few months before the midterm elections) would bury the issue. He was right. The administration dragged its feet on reform, and a year out almost nothing has changed. Another example: Rove sold the administration's $1.35 trillion tax cut in 2001 as a way to spur the ailing economy. Obviously it had no such effect, but Rove assumed no one would remember. Right again. Now the White House is selling the administration's 2003 tax cut as a way to spur the ailing economy.

Who Thinks Voters Are So Stupid?

The idea that Rove could make false allegations about McCain -- crazy stuff like he fathered a black daughter out of wedlock -- points to one thing that really pisses me off. His complete lack of respect for the intelligence of his fellow citizens.

He must think voters are really really stupid. Taking back our rights as citizens -- being informed, making informed voting decisions -- is all about how smart and thoughtful your common American voter is -- and I believe in that. I don't think of voters as stupid and I would never listen to someone who had such a condescending attitude towards voters. And his efforts to ruin McCain were all about treating REPUBLICAN voters like morons. Thank, s man. He was busy teach Bush to court and sweet talk Republican voters telling them how great they were, but behind the scenes treating them with disdain and ridicule.

My dad was a Republican. He was smart. He would have seen right through this guy.

Studying Karl Rove

It's really interesting to read about this man. The assumptions he makes about traditional journalists are so condescending. He assumes journalists can be easily manipulated and fed completely erroneous information and that they would pass it on without fact checking it for accuracy. That's not the way journalists I know work. I wonder what journalists would risk their reputations to be his errand boy. What's the payoff? Is it literally just that -- a payoff? Got to do some more reading about this man.

A Whole Different Story

Rereading the news from the 2000 Iowa caucauses sure gets you thinking. I get the feeling the turn out in Iowa is going to be a lot more impressive this time around:
CNN estimated that only 8.3 percent of the state's voting age population actually turned up at caucus voting places, with 3.5 percent of these attending Democratic gatherings, and 4.8 percent turning out for the Republicans.

The last time Democratic hopefuls slugged through a contested primary in 1988, 5.9 percent came out to vote for the five-candidate field. In 1996, 4.6 percent of the voting age population participated in the Republican caucuses


January 25, 2000

Want to see what was going on four years ago? Iowa was over and New Hampshire was just about to happen.

Sex And The City of Chicago

After all my posts below about how to be happy, I can't believe I neglected to talk about happiness and sex today. They seem to be clearly connected. Here's a study of the dating practices of city dwellers -- specifically Chicagoans.

The study suggests getting it in Chicago isn't all that easy, saying: " ... we already know that sexual well-being is very much associated with happiness and the quality of life. The implications for the future are troubling."

TV Fix

Okay, I'll come clean. Giving up TV is proving about 100X harder than giving up alcohol. And I'm almost ashamed to admit it. I miss the Weather Channel, CNN, CNBC, PBS, MTV, VH!. Also A&E, a little Bravo, certainly HBO and Showtime ... whoa! Way more addicted than I realized. What shall I give up next ... BLOGGING????

No!

No!

No!

Never!

Lunch

Don't you just love sandwiches and soup some days? It is so cold here. I'm gonna have a tuna melt and some chicken noodle soup I think. I'm so glad I have these helpful friends, who brought me gobs of nice food for my fridge and I did NOT have to go outside! The last thing I want is to risk frostbite to get some groceries.

Whoops

Liz Lawley's got a nice post about anti-depressants and was good enough to point out that I was blurring the notion of unhappiness and clinical depression when I wrote below about Happy Pills. Glad she cleared it up. Told you I didn't know what the heck I was talking about. At least I got that right.

Someone Teasing Me Here?

Loyal reader and cool blogger Rod is making fun of me I think. He poses the question: "Oh, and how can anyone be so happy at 4:30 in the morning?"

Well, he does have a point. I'm not easy to live with. I do like to get up at the crack of dawn and romp around. I can't figure out why no one else will get up and horse around with me. It's such a great time of day to be happy. It's taken a lifetime to remember, no 4:00AM rock and roll playing, no 4:00AM vacuuming, no 4:00AM gospel singing at the top of my lungs in the shower which I love to do, and no 4:00AM chatty phone calls to friends -- unless they are in Europe.

When I lived in California, I often would call friends on the East Coast, figuring I finally had a reasonable situation where it was 4:00AM for me, but 7:00AM for them -- and would end up waking them up and hearing them cursing at me at the other end of the phone.

Rod's got a link to Deep Fun too, check it out. Thanks for reminding me about Bernie's most fun blog, I forgot how much happy stuff is there.


Happy Pill

Been writing about happiness in these last few posts. One subject I haven't touched on -- pharmaceutical happiness.

I probably know as many people who swear by anti-depressants, as people who swear AT them. A deep, detailed discussion wouild be required to get into this subject, which I can't do right here, right now. Also, I don't have any personal experience with them, so can't offer an informed opinon. I don't like taking any pills myself. I do have friends who have been saved from great darkness and disaster by anti-depressants, so I can't say they are bad in all cases.

Cultural Happiness

This piece discusses the differences in notions of "happiness" across cultures. Asian happiness and American happiness do not appear to be the same. I started writing these posts about happiness from something I read on Joi Ito's blog. Joi grew up in both cultures, which is sure to add a whole new spin to his personal pursuit of happiness.

The New Scientist asks the question Are Asians Less Happy?

The same link above says the happiest people are HISPANICS! That's it! I'm going to crank up the Christina Aguilera! And have some huevos rancheros.

Read this other link from The New Scientist:
What's more, the things that give people happiness, satisfaction and meaning in their lives vary considerably between cultures. Shinobu Kitayama at Kyoto University in Japan and Hazel Rose Markus at Stanford University, California, believe that how satisfied a person is with their life depends largely on how successfully they adhere to their particular cultural "standard".

In the US, satisfaction comes from personal success, self-expression, pride, a high sense of self-esteem and a distinct sense of self. In Japan, on the other hand, it comes from fulfilling the expectations of your family, meeting your social responsibilities, self-discipline, cooperation and friendliness. So while in the US it is perfectly appropriate to pursue your own happiness, in Japan you are more likely to find happiness by not directly pursuing it.

And there's another twist. The happiest nations - mostly western and individualistic ones - also tend to have the highest levels of suicide. "There are some real downsides to individualistic cultures," says Ed Diener at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "People with mental illness are in real trouble with no extended family to watch over them."

This stuff is pretty fascinating for me personally, as my ex is Chinese-American and we had a CORE disagreement about happiness as the basic conflict of our married life and then big contributing factor to our separation and divorce.


More On What Makes People Happy

Some more links on what makes people happy. I'm particularly keen on the subject, as I am a very happy upbeat person and am often criticized by unhappier folks in my life for being so happy -- believe it or not. That I need spend a minute defending my right to be happy or being the slightest bit apologetic about it, seems insane, but I think I often attract people who are not so naturally happy and they start to find my bright wattage really annoying. It's taken me a lifetime to learn to steer clear of these folks.

Here's some more happy links. Many refer to having GOOD SOCIAL NETWORKS. Some are a little off the beaten path. Check them out. Try this for a slant on political happiness. And you might what to know what Peter Drucker thinks about happiness. This link is about the assumption that economic growth will make us happy and a brave Australian policitian takes this idea apart. In England, here's a reference to an Oxford professor's findings that being married is a key factor in happiness, especially for men.

How to make children grow into happy adults -- all about social networks again. Here's a bit from this last link: "Very happy people all have one thing in common -- good social relationships," said Diener, who is known as "Dr. Happiness." "And most very happy people have meaningful, internal goals they enjoy pursuing."

Happy Can Of Worms

Joi Ito's been talking about happiness on his blog and what makes people happy. I've blogged over here at We Quit Drinking, asking people to write about the happiest person they know.

The whole notion of happiness seems a big can of worms. Defining happiness is hard enough, but then to "reverse engineer" the lives of certain happy people you know to get a clue as to why they are happy ... not so easy. I know some very UNHAPPY people and find it easier to make some assertions about what they are doing in their lives that they might want to fix. But I need to ruminate on this for awhile.

Here are some links about what makes people happy.

No surprise here -- they surround themselves with family and friends, they keep busy, they FORGIVE easily.

The happiest people spend the least time alone. They pursue personal growth and intimacy; they judge themselves by their own yardsticks, never against what others do or have.

"Materialism is toxic for happiness," says University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener. Even rich materialists aren't as happy as those who care less about getting and spending.

Because the December holidays are friend- and family-oriented, they painfully reveal the intimacy missing in some lives, Diener says. Add in the commercial emphasis keeping up with the Joneses and the Christmas enjoyed by the Joneses' kids "and it's a setup for disappointment," he says.

And here's a link to a picture of "1 Happy Blonde" which seems to me to be a picture, oddly, of 2 happy blondes, but -- go figure.

Florida Battleground

I guess if you could pick a more lovely place to do battle, I can't imagine where you'd pick. Pack your bikinis, girls.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Sleep Tight

It's 13 degrees here with possible wind chill temps to 20 BELOW!!! Bundle up.

Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.

Okay Cast Your Vote: Raymond, Barlow or Blogging?

If you missed this skirmish, you have NOT been paying attention.

Please, don't make me choose one over the other. If I had to cast my vote for Eric Raymond or John Perry Barlow, I would defer, as I think they are both incredible. But even better is to have them the two of them going at it here in Blogsville.

So I pull the lever for Blogging every time -- it's the winner big time -- and I'm amused, thrilled, furious, LOL'ing and grateful to have this new medium be a place for such a brainy fist fight.

Are Right-Wing Pundits Overly Fond Of Pharmaceuticals?

Rush Limbaugh, we all found out this year had something chemical fueling his passionate diatribes. But maybe there's a tradition we've been missing. This Joe Conason piece in Salon from 1999 reminds us how much more fun it is to be a rich drug addict instead of a poor one.

Now let's examine the contrasting case of a more fortunate druggie -- a prominent Reaganite not altogether unlike the current Republican presidential front-runner. Lawrence Kudlow, the conservative Ivy-educated son of a rich New Jersey businessman, once served as chief economist for the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan administration. Later, he earned $1 million a year at the investment house of Bear Stearns. He was also a cocaine addict who checked into the Hazelden clinic in 1995, after he blacked out and his third wife threatened to divorce him.

Following successful treatment, the reformed Kudlow has told his sad story on television and returned to the good graces of his sympathetic fellow Republicans. He currently advises the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on tax and budget policy, no doubt urging big cuts in domestic spending (including publicly funded drug treatment programs for those who can't afford Hazelden or the Betty Ford Clinic).

In short, Kudlow has benefitted from liberal attitudes toward drug abuse, which prescribe medicalization rather than criminalization. Among his Republican peers, however, that kinder, gentler approach is considered too lenient to be applied to the poor.

This is where Bush's "compassionate conservatism" confronts rude reality. Judging from his past remarks and present policies, it is clear that he doesn't extend much compassion to the young and foolish who fool around with drugs

Now I Get It

Larry Kudlow from Kudlow & Cramer is a founding member of The Men's Club For Hair Growth. I can see why. I wish him the best of luck with his hair growth project. For a minute there I thought he was an unbiased journalist.

When it comes to identifying skeleton's in other people's closets, I imagine he is an expert

No Financial Obligation! Just Send Money

Maybe I'm confused. The Men's Club For Hair Growth calls themselves a "unique organization" because they welcome you with the good news that you needn't make a financial contribution, but you do need to give them some money. This is a unique policy.

"The Club for Growth is a unique organization in that we do not impose any financial obligation on our members whatsoever - except for your two year voluntary membership contribution. This fee covers the cost of researching the candidates and issues in a timely fashion so that you can make informed decisions on candidate contributions. The Club provides a valuable service to our members: research and background on candidates who believe in the right set of pro-growth policy ideas."

Even their JOIN NOW form conveniently asks for your money before your name. I like their priorities.

Men's Club For Hair Growth

Aren't these the same guys who plant hair plugs in the heads of balding men in off-election years? It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it.

Jeneane Hates Them All

Great piece by Jeneane about why she hates all the candidates running for President.

Garlic Roast Chicken

With this blistering cold, I'm working at home, writing, cleaning, doing laundry and roasting a chicken with small red potatoes. You wash the chicken and shake Garlic Salt all over it (or Garlic Powder if you are anti-salf). Preheat the oven to 450.

After you've got the chicken ready, do the potatoes.

It felt good to wash the red potaotes in warm water, then pour olive oil in my hands to coat them, roll them around in my palms a bit to get the oil all over them and tuck them into the roasting pan with the chicken before sliding the whole heavy pan into the oven. Cook it for about an hour. The potatoes may need less time.

It smells great.

TV Free For One Day

I'm going to start keeping count. My son is going to really hate life with no TV, but ... we'll see how it goes. Also, I'll admit, I use the TV to babysit hm and shut him up. It works perfectly. I'm ashamed to even say it. It induces a guaranteed zombie state in him, so I can get some time to myself and get some things done. It's going to take a major REHAUL of the way we interact to figure out a new, active way to live together and not use TV to "valet park" his brain.

Turn OFF The TV

I'm starting a new campaign. It's about how totally UNCOOL TV is. It's more uncool than smoking. It's more uncool than drinking. It's dangerously uncool to watch TV. Turn it off.

Your brain is melting, thanks to TV. Your butt is broadening, thanks to TV. Your kids are learning how to shoot people with guns for fun, thanks to TV. It's showing you that your neighbors have more money, more soda, more fun, more sex, more retirement savings and nicer clothes than you. It's teaching you how to be miserable. It's teaching you how to be passive. Turn it off.

You want news -- read a newspaper or go online.

You want weather -- try the radio or you might even go outside.

You want someone to keep you company, invite someone over.

You want sex, try it with a real partner, not late night TV.


If I Were A Democrat

I still can't get over conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan's remarks about Dean. When Sullivan says things like "If I were a Democrat..." make sure to read it.

I don't think Dean will go all fuzzy on us this summer, if he's the candidate. I think his hatred of Bush will shine through, and give a voice to millions of people who feel the same way. I think his belief in the supreme importance of government in people's lives deserves debate, and represents what the Democratic party is ultimately about. Why not have a candidate who expresses that without any more goddamn Clintonian equivocation? The Dems haven't given themselves an opportunity to vent about the way they really feel - about those benighted rednecks, dumb-ass preppies, preposterous puritans and economic snake oil-salesmen they believe are now running the country. It would be really unhealthy for America and the Democrats to repress that any longer. They'll give themselves a collective hernia. Dean represents an opportunity for honesty, for relief, for a true cultural clash. At this point, in this divided nation, I think it's riskier to avoid that clash than to give it an opportunity to be explored and democratically decided. That's especially the case after the Dems' excruciating loss last time around. Do I think Dean would be buried in November? Maybe. But maybe not. Bush is vulnerable in many ways; and Dean is a conviction politician. We haven't seen someone with his ideological ferocity since the 1980s. He may command the respect even of those who disagree with him, which is why I think he's smart not to go all apologetic under the friendly fire of the primaries. Nasty will serve him well. Either the Dems nose-dive under his leadership and then reinvent themselves under Hillary; or they revive themselves as a party of the uncompromising left under his leadership. And why the hell not? It's what a lot of people believe in - all across blue America. If John Ashcroft can be attorney-general, representing the extreme fringe of evangelical fervor, why the hell shouldn't a Northeastern, secular, big-government liberal be given a shot at the presidency? If I were a Dem, I'd support him. And feel a lot better for it.
He also points us to an interesting piece that suggests Bush's popularity is based on the possibility that the masses are asses.

Beach Blanket Bingo

Speaking of beach blankets, which I mention below, I just reread this and hadn't thought about it for a while. Seems like I know so many more men these days that have wonderful strong, emotional lives and aren't stuck in this alpha male tough guy jail. Maybe things are changing.

Am I Up?

At 5:25, I'm wondering, am I up for the day? Sometimes when I go to bed early, as I did last night, I'll wake VERY early (like 3:48am) which I did this morning. I have some flex in my schedule and work at home most of the time and so have the incredible luxury of being able to sneak back into bed if I get up too early and feel like getting some more of that great morning baby-in-her-crib super cosy sleep. On this record below zero Boston morning, I may not be able to resist.

It's the ideal sleep for big crazy silly sexy dreams for instance, so it's rather inviting. It can be the kind of sleep that makes you dream you're driving a big baby blue, sea-breezy open convertible down a sunny blindingly bright Miami boulevard and you suddenly remove the steering wheel of the car, hand it generously to the passenger next to you, who's conversation has gotten tedious and then smiling, you stand up, taking a quick leep off the padded driver's seat like a springy diving board, pressing your hands together in a prayerful shape above your head, doing a quick high dive from car into the blue blue blue blue yes splash ocean and paddling around, suddenly redressed in a great bikini and a great new body to go with it, in a virtual ocean of azure jello. Oh look, there's a guy on the beach waving for me to come share his blanket. I'll wave back. I'm way out at sea, but this blue jello ocean is easy to walk on, three bouncy steps and I'm on the sand, walking his way. Despite the gelatin ocean swim, I'm not sticky and blue, but clean and tan and feeling wonderful. Who is he anyway? Looks friendly. He's got a funny grin, I like it. Looks like a guy who knows how to have fun.

Yes, I think I am NOT up for the day and might need to crawl back into the dream factory.

Andrew Sullivan on Dean

Sullivan, our favorite gay, Catholic, British, New York Republican (go figure) has been writing some good stuff about Dean and especially about the profile in The New Yorker this week on Dean.

He also points to this piece in The New Republic.

Andrew Sullivan always reminds me, like Instapundit and other conservatives, even if you totally disagree with them, their blogging is so excelent you must keep reading them.

Unstoppable

One more piece about Dean's strength in Iowa and NH, again written by a conservative, Jonah Goldberg of The Washington Times.
The unofficial Conservative Pundit Full-Employment Act -- aka the Howard Dean presidential campaign -- currently working its way through the democratic process in Iowa and New Hampshire looks pretty much unstoppable at this point.
Read the whole thing though. He won't disappoint you Republicans. He thinks Dean will lose against Bush and lose badly. I guess we'll all have to wait and see.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Letter Writing

I've been doing a lot of letter writing lately -- to strangers -- at MEETUP's like tonight, to tell them how passionate I am about electing Howard Dean for instance. I love writing letters. I like putting passion in a letter -- good place for it. There's something wonderfully intimate about a letter.

I like the knowledge that someone has touched the paper, or at least, held a pen in their hand and scribbled in their own handwriting across it. A person's handwriting is so unique to that person -- nothing like an email or a form letter.

One thing for sure, a letter takes time. Something rare in our world. A letter is proof someone sat down, thought about you and took time to let you know they were thinking about you. I regret these days with such instant communication, this younger generation will not have a record of any of this time and thought.

I have old letters from my mom and dad, love to see their handwriting still lively and fresh, though they are both gone. I have old love letters from old beaux, wrapped up in ribbons, sheltered in shoeboxes. I have letters from my sisters to me when I spent time in France as a student. I'm so glad they took the time to write.

Still, to be fair, when I write to friends, I always let them off the hook, telling them they shouldn't feel pressure to write back. I know most people can't STAND writing letters back.

Faithful Ms. Popcorn

She's got some interesting things to say in this Wall Street Journal artilce. I'm going to put the stuff I find particularly interesting in bold.

Thanks Claire for emailing it to me.


Questions for Faith Popcorn

Reinvent the Wheel in 2004 -- Or Risk Being Flattened by It

By SUZANNE VRANICA
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Digital technology and changes in consumer behavior are creating
opportunities for futurist Faith Popcorn, who made her market by
forecasting important social and economic trends.

Ms. Popcorn founded Brain Reserve, her marketing consulting firm, back
in 1974 -- which means she knows something about lasting the course. She
hasalso written several books, including "EVEolution" and "The Popcorn
Report,"which helped establish her credentials.

Today, Campbell Soup is using Ms. Popcorn to broaden its marketing
efforts. One concept: "Soup Sanctuaries" at shopping venues nationwide, where
shoppers can rest and enjoy free soup. "TV commercials are over," Ms.
Popcorn says. "We are creating a new model where a brand interrupts the
culture." Her thoughts on 2004 follow.

* * *

WSJ: Are consumer-purchasing habits returning to normal in the
aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks?


[Popcorn]
'Our shock button has been turned off,' Ms. Popcorn says.

------------------

Ms. Popcorn: No. There are two kinds of fear that are still in place.
Internal fear, which includes the fear of carbs, office stress and
aging. And external fear, which includes the fear of terrorism, bioterrorism
and even the flu. Fear is still running high and that is why the alcohol
industry is doing well
. Fear makes consumers suspicious and it makes it
harder to sell to them. Big advertisers should be more maternal and
nurturing in this type of environment. They also need to be available.
Today, you can't get hold of any company. If you have an issue with
your soap powder you can't find a live person to talk to at a company. That
is a problem.

WSJ: What trend are marketers missing?

Ms. Popcorn: Only 10% of families are traditional. The new household
formation is mixed, but companies still market to the soccer moms and
white families
. About 51% of households are married-couple households -- down
dramatically from 80% in 1950. The fact is if you are in a new type of
household -- your child is adopted, you used an egg bank [to become
pregnant] or grandparents are raising the kids -- you are being
ignored.

WSJ: What key marketing trend will take hold in 2004?

Ms. Popcorn: Porn will become the norm. Nothing shocks anyone anymore.
Our shock button has been turned off and that is why advertisers are
finding it hard to get their messages through. The whole country is desensitized.
The media will continue to push the limits of what's acceptable.

WSJ: Will marketers embrace aging boomers this year?

Ms. Popcorn: Marketers don't understand them. No one understands them.
Our culture throws out older people. More importantly, marketers don't
realize that there is a group of boomers that are born-again parents. Many
grandparents are raising kids today. Paying attention to this
generation is not about putting old people in ads. You must put products into
people's lives in imaginative ways.

WSJ: You spent part of your childhood in China. As that market heats
up, how should American companies prepare their marketing?

Ms. Popcorn: Speak Chinese first. Chinese culture is complex. Americans
are terrible at not understanding the culture. I have adopted a Chinese
daughter and had to learn about the culture. Companies must do the same -- it is
enormously important. You need to know that black is a bad-luck color
in China. One small misstep could destroy your communications.

WSJ: Will TiVo gain strength in 2004, and if it does, what does this
mean for TV marketers?

Ms. Popcorn: TiVo will take the guts out of the television industry.
You will see a lot of marketers become partners with TV shows. Soon you
will beable to buy the wardrobe of a character on a show, or the entire living
room that appears on a show's set. It's not about having Evian [bottled
water] appear in a program.

WSJ: Are there any other new technologies that have the potential to
change advertising and marketing?

Ms. Popcorn: One company has begun putting built-in mini TV screens on
wine bottles. It shows a short film about the wine and how it was grown. I
think other food marketers may also use the new TV technology. It's part of
wanting to understand the source of our food.

WSJ: Is reality TV a fad or a trend?

Ms. Popcorn: It's a long-term trend that will be supported by virtual
reality rooms
that will be in almost every home. With the advent of
virtual reality, we'll be playing so many mind games that reality truths will
be blurred until there is no difference between reality TV, Internet games
and real life. For example, we will travel with the reality-TV team for
days at a time in our virtual reality rooms. When we must go to work, the game
will be installed on the inside of our glasses. We will gather at locations
at specific times to meet others playing in our game. It's 'Matrix' to the
max.

WSJ: What do you think about the advertising business today? How will
it evolve?

Ms. Popcorn: I think it's on its way to extinction. In three to five
years you will see consumers rejecting advertising-which will cause agencies
to scramble as they try to make a living. Right now, they are opening
trend departments, public-relations arms and viral-marketing departments.
It's about trying to reinvent themselves -- but they are very late to the
game.

Chilly Meetup -- Meetup Chili

It's so cold here and I hate to go out at all, but to miss this last MEETUP would be a very bad idea. So maybe I"ll score some hot food like chili and make it a fun night -- highly likely. I've got Zephyr both inspiring me and making me feel just guilty enough that I couldn't possibly miss the meeting! Thanks Girl!

Lunch Launch

You could have this, or this, or this or even this.

Put Your Bonnets On Girls

I don't know why I"ve been thinking about bonnets this morning, but you can't think of bonnets without thinking of Little House On The Prairie. Notice the girls have their bonnets on and properly tied and the wagon has her bonnet on as well. I still think On the Banks Of Plum Creek was one of my all time favorites.

No ozone layer and bonnets will be a killer combination.

Prairie Bonnets

Call me crazy, but cotton prairie baby bonnets (for big girls) are about to be the next big thing. You'll see them all over the beach this summer with girls in these. Perfect combo. Need to keep the sun off those delicate soft cheeks, I mean, face cheeks. Oh, baby.

Pink's Hats

Pink knows how to wear hats and I'm thinking hats are going to be very very big in 2004. You must go get a hat. What about this one or how about one of these?

Pink Hat

There is something about my pink hat that makes me feel so safe and sound. It's a faux fur masterpiece that looks a lot like Cat-in-the-Hat's striped red and white hat, but it's all pink fur.

Pink fur and little pink pills. *

[*couldn't find a link to give the reference to "little pink pills" -- so as not to worry readers that I might have quit drinking but could now be popping pills -- believe me I'm not -- this is just a reference to the rhymes in The Cat In The Hat Comes Back where it goes: "Pink snowboots, pink snowballs and little pink pills."]

Big NewsGator News

Sounds like a lot is cooking out in Las Vegas at the CES show. They're cooking up a big alligator gumbo, I mean NewsGator gumbo. Lots of new announcements like -- new NewsGator 2.0 released, new NewsGator online services and all sorts of other aggregator stuff.

And I love that it's upper case N lower case ews and then upper case G and then lower case ator, it's much more fun than a plain old Newsgator.

Whenever I hear the name NewsGator I want a new pair of sexy alligator slingbacks and a matching alligator purse -- but of course, REAL alligator is no longer politically correct or cool, for that matter, but NewsGator sure is. Everyone will be wearing it this spring, I mean, using it.

Party Party

David, big thanks for taking me to the Dean House Meeting and watching how they work. You did a really terrific job. Also, big thanks to our hosts -- great event.

I'm FINALLY home in Boston, up way too late, but it's just great to be here in my cosy place.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Busy Hive

It's dark now here in Dean's New Hampshire HQ. Nothing is slowing down. Volunteers leave, new ones arrive. New stories, new excitement, new concerns, new solutions. The river outside still rushes by, grey, icy, not slowing.

Off to a house party to learn more about how supporters find new supporters and on and on.

Have met pages and pages of bloggable folks today, but I've got no time to blog. More soon.

BTW, Doc did a fascinating post today.

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Chilly

Very chilly here. I still can't believe less than a week ago I was bicycling with my kid in 55 degree weather. Boy that's long gone. Later.

Folks with colds and flu, please take care today.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Shut Eye

Ever notice how hard it is to get off-line, off blog, off IM, off IRC, off the phone, off email and off to bed some nights!!!

Born To Run


In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected
and steppin' out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims
and strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
We'll run till we drop, baby we'll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
`Cause baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
girl I want to know if love is real

Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight
but there's no place left to hide
Together Wendy we'll live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run

Dean In Iowa

Adam Nagourney of The New York Times on The News Hour w/Jim Lehrer describing the crowds Kerry is getting.

"Kerry's getting good crowds."

"What about Dean?"

"Think Bruce Springsteen concert-type crowds."

Remember what he was saying in August?

Inside Baseball And What A Horserace

Jay Rosen per usual is writing the REAL DIRT on how political reporters continue to think and play politics-as-usual in this election. He calls it just right. No one is going to believe what's about to happen in Iowa and New Hampshire and it's not just because I'm partisan and like Dean.

No one is going to believe it -- because no one can see it -- even as it is happening. Even once it HAPPENS no one is going to see it or believe it.

I loved this especially:

"Meanwhile, the weblog world is starting to stir a bit with the idea of monitoring individual campaign reporters. (But for what?) Steve Gilliard: "I think it would be a really, really good idea to track reporters, word for word, broadcast for broadcast, and print the results online. Not just for any one campaign or cause, but to track people's reporting the way we track other services."


Thanks Ed Cone for pointing to this.

More Than This


[In the movie, Lost In Translation, Bill Murray sings this song when they go out to do karaoke. It's Roxy Music's More Than This.]

More Than This

I could feel at the time
There was no way of knowing
Fallen leaves in the night
Who can say where they're blowing?
As free as the wind
Hopefully learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning

More than this
You know there's nothing
More than this
Tell me one thing
More than this
There's nothing

It was fun for a while
There was no way of knowing
Like a dream in the night
Who can say where we're going?
No care in the world
Maybe I'm learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning

More than this
You know there's nothing
More than this
Tell me one thing
More than this
No, there's nothing
More than this, nothing
More than this
More than this, nothing

Sex Scene

I've been wanting to write about the sex scene in Lost In Translation for a while -- been waiting for everyone in the whole wide world to see the movie before I write about it and wreck the whole thing. I really can't believe they pulled off the sex scene in such a new and fresh way.

Poor Bob (played by Bill Muirray). He's falling so hard for Charlotte (played by Scarlett Johannson). The May-December romance is a funny, odd, sweet, confusing affair. They are both driving each other a little crazy, but not crossing the line of physical intimacy. Strangely, they cross lines of emotional intimacy early on -- sharing inside jokes and insights that far more "intimate" lovers might not ever share. They "get one another" in terms of who they are in their lives -- at very different times in their lives. She's freshly married and young but wise for her 22ish years. He's jaded, been around the block, maybe a lot of blocks, but has a sweetness and an innocence you wouldn't count on finding in that old pile of bones and flesh.

Just as things really start to heat up and you can feel the longing in their very skin for one another -- this coupled with too many long empty days when her huband leaves her alone in the hotel -- together with a fun, friendly, sexy relationship that's obviously blooming between them -- the impossible happens. Bob ends up in bed with the lounge singer from the hotel, we we all have been making fun of from the beginning of the film. To make things worse, of course, Charlotte drops by his room in the morning and discovers this.

Talk about a surprising twist. I loved it. It said a lot. It made me want to say, "Hey, Charlotte, you're driving him crazy, he's a man, give him a break." She was a little more unforgiving than she should have been I think. Because really the sex scene with the lounge singer wasn't at all sexy. It was nothing. It existed only to create contrast between the tawdry affair Bob and Charlotte might have had and the real sexual encounter they did have. (In case you haven't seen it, they NEVER do have sex.) The whole film is one long sex scene -- a terrific subtle portrait of what is truly sexy -- wanting someone, playing with their mind, longing for them, waiting for them, getting ready for what might happen, imagining it, getting closer, pulling back, stepping forward, going shy on a guy, getting bold -- all of it. And the sheer comfort of clinging to someone in a world that is so hard to understand some days, like wrapping your arms around a piling of a still standing pier in the middle of a raging storm, ocean waves crashing all around you. Sometimes we need someone to remind us how to just ride out the storm.

I still think the sexiest line in the movie is when Bob says to Charlotte, who admits to being pretty lost in her life, "I'm not worried about you." Something wonderful there. To have someone give you that confidence in a simple but intimate and loving way, to say, "You'll be fine. I know it." A most soulful, delicate, intercourse.

Dean Breakfast

Should be fun to share a cup of Joe -- I mean COFFEE -- with the Gov tomorrow morning in Manchester, NH.

Chicago O'Hare Snow Mess

Sounds like the airport was a big blizzardy mess yesterday. Hope you didn't get caught there, or if you did, that you're home safe and sound now.

Shall I Call In Sick For You?

I really think you shouldn't go to work today. I'd be happy to call your boss. Crawl back under the covers. I'll go call for you.

What excuse shall we use today -- I know, a little mad cow disease but we'll say you'll be in tomorow for sure!

This Will Be A Great Day

I guarantee it. Get back to me for a refund if not. But you MUST take it slow. No crazy dashing around please. There's a mess of icy roads and rotten sleet here in Boston this morning to make the first day back a major headache.

Sorry Ole

Whenever I write about politics and Dean in particular, I know I piss off part of my favorite readers who love Bush and I always think of you guys and know I better throw up some TRADITIONAL Halley's Comment CONTENT to make you feel a little better. Okay, okay. And btw, I don't hate Bush, I just want a change. It's a free country, right?

Deep Optimism

Gotta love her language. Gotta love her NAME. Can you imagine being called Zephyr! It beats Halley by a mile.

Zephyr lets loose on this historic time in the history of this historic election.
The Brink of History

There are fifteen more days until the Iowa caucuses. I wish I could find a good way to express how important these days are.

You hold, in your hands, the direction of this country.

Whatever you can do, please do it, and whoever you can bring into the campaign, bring them in. These days will define the primaries -- the primaries will define the general -- the general will define the direction of democracy for decades to come. For the past eleven months, we've been asking so much of so many of you in different forms -- please write letters, please give money, please wear your buttons and tell your friends. Please set up Victory Day events, please go to Meetup, please respond with your deep optimism to attacks, please canvas, please call your grandmother.


Work-a-day World

First day back to work for the new year. Take it easy. You don't actually have to get everything done today, believe it or not.

I got spam this morning from some nice lady named Cristy Flook. Cristy wants to know if it's "Time For A Better Job?" and she's willing to sell me a university degree to obtain gainful employement.

Ms. Flook! I have way too many university degrees (to go with my expertly enlarged penis) as it is. Thanks, but no thanks.

Really, seriously folks, take it easy out there. We're heading into the highest heart attack time zone -- Monday 9:00am. Keep cool guys.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Watching This And Loving It

A friend loaned me the DVD and it's so great. Colin Firth is the best.

I'd Be Lion

I'd be lion, I mean, lying if I didn't mention this was my favorite result of the DRAW THE LOGOS contest that Boris of Rowboat blogged about.

Don't you love this?

Don't miss the rest.

A brand by any other name would smell as sweet ... maybe.

Alpha Male Olympic Gold Medal Winner

Wow, I wanna meet the guy that married Britney. How the heck did he pull that one off???

Watch Me Poison Myself

Jay has written something very interesting over at Makeout City as well as the comment he posted to We Quit Drinking So we're all drinking and smoking to get laid and make superior offspring. Thanks for the clarification -- but can't we just skip the smoking and drinking part and get down to the business at hand? Check ths out.

The idea is that substance abuse is very much like art. It is a signal to potential mates: "Look how rich I am, I can buy things that have no use and still have money for food"; or, the case of substance abuse: "Look how strong I am, even when I poison myself regularly I am still strong." These indicator signals are very common in animals. For example, zebras have a dance that they do when they see lions. This dance takes a long time and puts them at a disadvantage to escape, but through evolution it has come to signal to a lion that the zebra is very fast and they should both not waste their energy running when the lion will surely lose. Like alcohol, the immediate effect is debilitating, but the overall effect of the signal is an advantage.

BTW, will everyone stop writing interesting email and blog posts and comments, I'm going to be late to church and I can't be today.

Wine and Wafer

It's hard to describe the ritual of communion to someone who doesn't do it and why it is very moving and satisfying. I think I might go dig up some stuff on the net about it.

In our church we do it the first Sunday of every month. In Catholic and Episcopalian church, I believe they do it every day. Better check with AKMA on that.

Sourdough Bagels Vanilla Yogurt Pot of Tea

Got a great breakfast waiting for me. I know this will sound idiotic, but I can't tell you how often I forget to plan ahead and get FOOD IN MY HOUSE so I have something to eat now and then. Glad I thought ahead. Have to be to church early as I'm serving communion.

Lavender Bath

This is the problem with blogs. I know I read something on someone's blog about baths with lavender scent being scientifically proven to make you more relaxed and less stressed out, but can't recall who's blog it was. I'm hopping into my lavender bubble bath, and while I'm splish-splashing, if you are the blogger who wrote it, drop me a line so I can give you credit and a link.

Doubting Thomas

Someone just emailed me saying, "You're not working out -- you're blogging!" Well, until I invent the blogging treadmill -- I guess you can't do both, but I DID WORKOUT AND AM JUST NOW DONE AND FEEL GREAT, but do not smell so great, so if you'lle excuse me, it's into a lavendar bubble bath and off to church, unless I get a second or two more to blog.

Thanks for checking up on me!

Up Early Working Out

You might say I'm getting a hit of endorphins, which I am, and is that a drug like any other? Well, at least it improves your body instead of trashing it like some other drugs and drink might.

One of the weird things about not drinking alcohol anymore is how thirsty I am for plain old water lately. Makes me think I wasn't getting enough before and some how it's really obvious now.