Labor Day. Say Thank You.

It’s labor day. Nee-woll-ah*

“Labor! Oh, the problem of labor in India is gargantuan.” Auntie Mame**

Most of us have the day off, although there are plenty of people working to ensure you have important things like food, healthcare, safety, and we can’t forget school clothes and a shot at winning big in craps.

I live in Las Vegas, and right now, there are tens-of-thousands of people working on the Strip making sure our visitors have good food, a clean room and a constant flow of cold drinks while cold hard cash the guests earned is going into machines. Most return home with a good experience, and some return with extra cash.

I like the people who work in the casinos. The ones who are cleaning rooms, serving food and dealing your blackjack hand. They are the labor force that is bringing in the dough.

No matter which city you’re in, the workers are doing their jobs. Today. On a holiday.

Many are thrilled to be working and earning, hopefully, just a little more than they need.

So say thank you. Leave a tip – and just a little more than 15 or 20 percent if you can afford it.

**The line above is from Auntie Mame; a book, a play, and then a movie that starred Rosalind Russell. My favorite actress.

*Nee-woll-ah comes from the movie classic Picnic, with William Holden and Kim Novak. - which Rosalind Russell was also in. To me, that is the quintessential movie about Labor Day. End of Summer. Desperation. Change.

And an awesome scene delivered near the end of the movie by Ms. Russell, where she, as Rosemary the spinster teacher, is begging Howard (played so well by Arthur O’Connell) to marry her. It was done in one take. I couldn’t find the scene on YouTube. Just watch the movie.

Have a wonderful autumn!

Barnes & Noble Sent Me To Amazon

I’ll get to the book part, but first . . .

Today’s a holiday – Memorial Day. My Dad was a vet, World War II, South Pacific. He was wonderful, very quiet, retired from the Phone Company when people went to work and retired from the same job after decades.

He retired early, at 62, because he was just tired of working. He had a pension, and in those days, one could actually retire at 62 and draw Social Security. Not a lot of money, but he could afford to buy books. Usually Tom Clancy and Ken Follett.

He loved to read. Did so every night after Mom went to bed. It was quiet, the cats kept him company and didn’t ask him to fix the leaky faucet.

Segue to reading.

I love to read. Unfortunately for my husband, I will forego doing anything if I have a good book. I read a lot of business books – which can be boring – but when you find one that supports your opinion – it can be a real page-turner.

Yes, I’m talking about my quest last week to buy Cubed from Barnes & Noble.

Jerks.

Well, it was partly my fault.

As I said last week:

So, I read the article, I went online and ordered the book to pick up at my local Barnes & Noble. I planned to read as much as possible last night and wow you with enhanced knowledge, but alas, my $17.38 purchase came through, confirmed via text, that the price in store is actually $26.95.

Oh, mon dieu. I went to B&N, asked for my book at the counter and said, “I have a question.” The clerk responded immediately with, “We charge the full price, not online price” . . . as she put the book back on the shelf. They have my name, email address and phone number. Good Job.*

So I came home and ordered Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace from Amazon, free shipping and it was $17.04. Ha!

Now to be completely fair to B&N, they do let you know the price of the book will be different if you go to the store to buy the book. Well into the ordering process, mind you.

Yes, Summerlin location, I'm calling you out, AND admitting that in my excitement to find this book I overlooked the New Revised Price. I still think it's rude. And stupid.

Yes, Summerlin location, I'm calling you out, AND admitting that in my excitement to find this book I overlooked the New Revised Price. I still think it's rude. And stupid.

There it is. Well, it says the book is $27. But it’s actually $26.95 – why can’t they just put the real price in there?

The bigger question is this: Why, when you have a customer standing in front of your clerk with cash in hand, do you choose to NOT complete a transaction?

This is the stupidest sales decision ever. This certainly wasn’t a case of showrooming because I looked online – then I went to the store.

In this piece from Business Insider, reverse-showrooming, which is what I was doing and didn't know it, is being adopted by retailers.

"What has changed is that retailers have begun to identify the reverse showrooming trend and the opportunity it offers to them, and they are now working to actively capture those sales."

Duh.

I live in Las Vegas. We don’t have a lot of bookstores anymore. Perhaps B&N think they have a market to themselves. But looking at the stats on bricks and mortar booksellers in this town, I think not.

Especially when they turn down a sale. From me.

I buy a lot of books – I’m not a Kindle type of person. I like ink on paper. I put post-it notes to mark important pages – especially the ones that completely agree with me and validate what I know to be true. And I’ve even been known to underline the good stuff – and use a post-it.

So, I bought the book from Amazon and had to wait a couple days. Cheaper than the online price from B&N, and I got free shipping.

Oh, and I went ahead a bought a couple other books too.

Missed opportunity, Barnes & Noble.

By the way, have a wonderful, safe Memorial Day. Put out the flag, honor our wonderful vets, barbeque a few burgers and read a book.

 

*well, actually, so do you if you click on my contact page. 

Rockabilly Weekend and Vanity Plates

It’s Saturday. It’s beautiful outside and we’re going to hit the car show at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend today. So we’ll see lots of cars from around the country and many will have vanity license plates. (Not to mention all the vanities that abound – this is Las Vegas)

So this morning, I saw this piece about a woman in New Jersey whose request for a vanity plate was rejected because it was for the word 8THEIST.

She is suing the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey: please take that money you’re spending on defending the decision to deny the plate and fix some roads, for cripes sakes.

A person who buys a vanity plate often also states his or her opinion/conviction/support of oh, their senator or president; their sexual orientation/marriage; for/against guns, abortion; organic food, zumba fitness; university/pro sports team; love of cats/dogs/ferrets; and free speech – on their car.

Cost of entry to add those messages is really cheap.

What I find odd is – that while one can spend almost nothing to paste their personal messages all over their car, and that they are willing to pay a premium to make that message [semi] permanent on their car – the government of any given state wants to decide that it is inappropriate to say it on a license plate, and they don’t want that extra money paid (usually every year unless you live in Oregon and licensing a car cost almost nothing), even though their state legislature decided that vanity plates would be an awesome way to make extra cash to repair (uh-um) all the roads.

I understand keeping all the bad words off plates. People don’t usually write f*ck you in the dirt on the back window of their mini-van. If they’re not willing to make that statement in dirt, then they shouldn’t get it on a plate. Besides, it’s rude. There’s enough rudeness on the road.

But this is a Freedom of Speech issue.

I live in Nevada. Home of Ranchers, Gambling, Legal Brothels (outside of two counties), millions of acres of Beautiful Desert, Sunshine 360 days a year, and Bars that are open 24 / 7. I’ve seen first-hand how the First Amendment is handled on a license plate.*

Another thing we have in Nevada – an awesome Rockabilly Weekend – that, I hear, will now be twice a year.

So, be free and have a great weekend. I can’t wait to see cool rides and hear Los Straitjackets.

Oh, and one last thought. If that plate you want is already taken, please don’t try so hard to make it work with numbers and such. It makes me crazy trying to figure out what your plate says.

Living Dangerously Through Pie

I'll live dangerously for this pie.

I'll live dangerously for this pie.

Happy Pi Day. 3/14. Didn’t realize it until I saw a piece on the Houston Chronicle’s site about pie. Nice that they mixed it up with sweet (pecan) and savory (chicken pot) pies.

But this isn’t about those pies. This is about My Favorite Pie. Well, my second-favorite pie. But it’s My Favorite because I can’t find a recipe for my actual favorite.

So on with the danger!

$1,000 French Silk Chocolate Pie, by Mrs. H. E. Cooper, Silver Spring Maryland.*

This gem of a recipe comes from Pillsbury’s 3rd Grand National $100,000 Recipe And Baking Contest, held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, December 10, 1951 – 100 Prize-Winning Recipes Adapted for your use by Ann Pillsbury.

Something actually happened before I was before I was born.

Every so often, Mom would make this pie. It was awesome. It was the only thing she made that was edible. Probably because she followed a recipe.

The danger in this recipe is the eggs. Raw eggs. Two of them. Mom said that they get ‘cooked’ in the process of beating at medium speed for five minutes, after the addition of each egg.

I believed her like I believed the man from Multnomah County who came by every summer with a big truck and a high-power blower to shoot our field on one side, and woods on the other, with DDT to keep the mosquitos to a minimum each summer.

“Just wait an hour, then you can go back to playing in the field.”

We always did what we were told to do.

I believed her because I didn’t detect slimy eggs when I ate the pie. This no-bake filling takes over 10 minutes to mix. For-ever. The eggs must have been cooked.

I never did get salmonella, and somehow survived the DDT. I guess the proof exists: I had children who have grown into normal adults without weird appendages or learning disabilities, and I still have all my body parts.

Anyway, this is, by far, the best pie ever. The proof is in the years of use the recipe book (it doesn’t say cookbook anywhere), from where this recipe resides, shows the wear/tear/pie filling of repeated joyful culinary preparation.

If you live dangerously, the recipe follows.**

And just to cover my ass, this recipe book was copyrighted in 1952. Here’s a link to Pillsbury’s Bake-Off site so I don’t get into trouble.

Oddly, it’s the 47th Bake-Off. If the 1951 Bake-Off was the 3rd, wouldn’t that make the 2014 Bake-Off the 66th?

Amazing, pies are round. We apply pi: the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, will 66 become 47? Magical day.

Here’s the recipe:

Crust – the pie shell is a traditional flour crust. I usually buy ready-made or a crust mix. If you really want to make a scratch crust, here’s a lovely recipe.

My sis prefers this pie in a graham cracker crust. You can do that too. I like the original version, though, and why add all the carbs?

Filling (the best part, and you can eat it right out of the bowl)

Cream:

1/2 cup butter, then add gradually
3/4 cup sugar, creaming well

Blend in:

1 square (1 oz.) chocolate, melted and cooled (they don’t state, but I use semi-sweet)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add in:

2 eggs, one at a time, beating 5 minutes after each addition (With electric mixer use medium speed) [this was the ‘50’s after all]

Turn:

into cooled, baked pie shell, Chill 1 to 2 hours. Before serving top with whipped cream and walnuts, if desired. [Walnuts? Nope, don't need them]

And by the way, my favorite pie is Plush Pippin’s (a restaurant in the Great Northwest which is sadly gone) Sour Cream Pineapple pie. My coworker Jana and I, during a particularly desperate time,  bought one and ate it for lunch with chopsticks because we didn’t have forks and were too proud to go to the kitchen and expose the fact that we were willing to eat an entire (almost) pie for lunch. I cannot find a decent recipe for this pie.

*$1,000 in 1951 equates to $9,321.96 in 2014.

** Never consume raw or uncooked foods.***

*** I see this on every menu, so I thought I’d add it for flair and professionalism.

Who Knew That Meth-Resistant Would Be A Selling Feature?

I can only imagine the creative sessions for the ad I saw last night. The one for Zephrex-D. I saw the spot twice, and the first time I really didn’t pay attention. Then the second time I stopped – whoa!

And in a touch of irony, the spot featured a teacher, in a science class no less. 

How original.

You can check out the spot here.

Meth-resistant was the selling feature. Safety in your community too - oh, that's a by-product of meth-resistance. I can’t remember exactly what they said, but yes, that was the crux of it. Wow, and I didn’t know this was something that was high on the list of pharma development - like vaccines or antibiotics.

What the heck is meth-resistant?

Intrigued by this notion, I had to Google it. So I found this article on MarketWired. (they write about Nexafed which is the same thing (in my super-educated opinion) - Zephrex-D is from a different pharmaceutical company and has a snappy name.

So the drug does what Sudafed® does (keeps our sinuses clear), but the bad guys can’t turn it into meth.

Evidently, in order to make meth, the stuff in Sudafed crystalizes (which is good) but Zephrex-D turns into a goo (which is bad).

From MarketWired:

“The study measured the ability of NEXAFED's IMPEDE technology to disrupt the extraction and conversion of PSE by meth cooks using common clandestine meth lab processes. When simulating large scale manufacturing to extract and convert pure PSE into meth, researchers found that NEXAFED's IMPEDE technology yielded no measurable PSE extraction, representing a significant impediment compared to the control Sudafed(R) tablets (Sudafed(R) is a registered trademark and product of Johnson & Johnson). When tested under the "one-pot" conversion method, the study indicated that current IMPEDE technology tablets had an approximate 38 percent yield, nearly half the average meth recovered compared to the control. Currently, Acura Pharmaceuticals is improving its present formulation and developing new IMPEDE 2.0 technology, which yielded no measurable amount of meth with the one-pot conversion method in initial testing of a prototype formulation by an outside laboratory.”

This all makes perfect sense to me. So now I guess we should look forward to IMPEDE 2.0 technology. I already feel safer. No more one-pot meth on the streets. Well to be accurate, Zephrex-D® uses Tarex® technology. I'm sure they're all the same thing that keeps us safe.

I wonder how the ad guys will translate that?

I don’t know, it seems like a whole lot of work to buy enough Sudafed to make meth. I guess I don’t have enough initiative to do drugs. Or buy drugs.

Well, I’m not exactly their target market.

So I have to ask: WWHD?

I Guess It's English As A Second Language. Thank God It Prevents Myopia.

It's Friday, so I must share...

This Prevent Myopia Screen Guard Protector Film can protect your eyes. [Need I say more?]  

This Prevent Myopia Screen Guard Protector Film can protect your eyes. [Need I say more?] 

I bought a lovely new Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Okay for all you Mac folks, yes I use a pc, and yes I bought a Windows 8 machine, which is working quite well thank you.  (It takes a little time to get used to it)

By the way, being someone who loves ink on paper and the art of packaging design, I was impressed with the elegant box it came in. What can I say? I'm a designer at heart. 

So I bought a Lenovo case through Amazon the other day, and they sent me an email this morning recommending a screen guard.

These are the features - and you can read it for yourself here.

Features:

1. Great protection for your laptop and notebook LCD screen

2. Durable, washable, reusable with no residue during removal

3. As same inch, long and wide is different

4. That we will take our dimension for standard

5. This Prevent Myopia Screen Guard Protector Film can protect your eyes

6. With high anti-static performance, this Screen Guard Protector Film can remove glare, improve contrast

7. It is very safe to use and has no adverse affect whatsoever on your equipment

8. This will protect your screen from scratching and normal use damage

Happy Friday!  

 

This Blog Is Not About You - And It Is

Just like they say on Law & Order, ripped from the headlines. Well, not really.

I write about what I have experienced first-hand. Then I put it into the context of a functioning agency or department (actually how they should function if they’d just get with the program); how to make things better; what is unacceptable; and pretty much, what I think.

Basically the joy – and danger of blogging.

Every day, every interaction, every lame-brain thing that happens in an agency or marketing department is actually not about you specifically.

Really?

Well, there truly isn’t anything I haven’t seen - related to the daily trials and tribulations of an agency. So when I write about something, I may have been reminded about it by a recent experience. But I can guarantee, with absolute certainty, that I have personally experienced it. More. Than. Once.

What is utterly remarkable about my experience and what I write about is the fact that everything is unremarkable.

What is utterly remarkable about that, is that I see all this crap everywhere, and one would think we’d all learn from one another and not make the same annoying – and expensive – mistakes. Repeatedly.

So that’s why I write about stuff that you think is about you. Because it is. And it isn’t.

Go ahead, toss me a nugget. Tell me about something that is troubling your agency or department, and:
I’ll tell you if [that] I’ve experienced it
I’ll diagnose the cause
I’ll tell you how to fix it

Bet’cha can’t stump me, because after 35 years, there truly are no surprises.