21 December 2012

Free Pizza Tomorrow

So first, he's giving away 2,000,000 free pizzas via a NFL promotion, and now via a MLB promotion you can get 50% off his pizzas (from 12/21-28).
Tell me again how it's INSURANCE that is making the cost of Papa John pizzas going up $0.11-$0.14 in 2013?

Maybe stop giving away your damn product chucklehead.

Also, I would hope he's not stiffing his franchisees with the cost for these free and discounted pizzas under the guise of 'group marketing efforts'.

This Job Creator is one funny m'fer.....said no one ever.

Yes, I know he's since backed off his initial comments but he never denied that he said he'd raise prices.  I don't eat his stuff anyway.

01 December 2012

R.I.P. "Big" Rick Majerus

RIP Rick Majerus.
For many of us at Marquette during the mid-80's it sometimes was a love/hate relationship or, in my case, a hate/love relationship.

He hurt my feelings when I was 13 years old at an Al McGuire, Medalist basketball camp.  I think he was trying to relate to a pudgy 13-year old but as Rick sometimes had a knack of doing, he used very poor word choice.  Yeah, "c'mon buddy, move your big fat ass" would rank up there with bad word choices at a basketball camp.  Sorry, I was a sensitive boy back then, not the hardened son-of-a-bitch I am now ;-p

So, yeah, 5 years after that incident, I'm faced with him being the MU head coach and I don't like him one bit.  What's weird is, looking back on it, he truly made Limoncello out of Lemons.  20-11 and 19-11 back then was only good enough for the NIT (especially since we were an Independent) but with the talent he could scrounge up, that was a miracle and frankly, after him, well, it was the Great Disaster called Bob Dukiet proving the old adage, "you know what you know, you don't know what you don't know" or better yet, "the grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence".

It took 12 years for me to meet up with him face-to-face again.  I know I was much wiser and realized how foolish I had been.  It was a really quick meeting and in a restaurant (duh, two fat-bodies needing to munch) and I chatted with him about 'the incident'.
We had a laugh, he wished me well, and I, him.  It was right after he took Utah to the '98 finals and lost to Kentucky.  I had come to respect him long before that meeting but it was nice to share even just a moment with someone who loved Marquette so much having been a product of both the High School and the University.

It's sort of a cruel that a man who actually had a very warm and generous heart would end up succumbing to a disease of the heart.  Although most details are not known, those of us who have followed his career know that he's had to take time off due to whatever issues he was having over the last 12+ years since he couldn't finish out his first year coaching Utah.

May God Bless him with eternal salvation.

05 November 2012

You can't complain if you don't vote? Says who?

I really despise election season.  This year more than in the past, the fear-mongering rhetoric is at all time high.

Some call it racism in disguise but frankly, it's just a plain problem of the two-party system that the tone of negativism is now the only way you can pander to the extreme factions of your party.

But the most hilarious line I see during EVERY election is the old "you can't complain if you don't vote" bullsh!t.  And that's what it is, bullsh!t.

Let's see, where do I start? Um, okay, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, which protects my freedom of speech by being an American.  It does NOT qualify that with "oh, ONLY if one votes".  Let's stop there since frankly, I don't need any other reasons.

So clearly, by our own Founding Father's wisdom, I CAN complain if I don't vote.  And let's not forget that when they wrote that piece of wisdom, women and minorities weren't considered eligible to vote and they only GOT that Right by what? Oh yeah, complaining when they didn't vote.

Get over it you blowhards, you're only saying this to justify your OWN knowledge that you're likely backing a losing candidate and therefore, by saying it, it lets you rail on for the next two or four years annoying all of your Facebook friends who don't give a sh!t about your politics.

26 October 2012

Look in the mirror, will you, you idiots??

This is the thing that gets me about the political rhetoric each and every day and the extremes to which it's gone:

A well-known 'right winger' posted this about Benghazi "Who in the H do these tyrants think they are? Manufacturing a story about a scapegoat video then threatening to criminalize speech?"

It just strikes me funny in that a very valid response should be "the same type of tyrants who manufactured a story about WMD to start a war and who created Homeland Security which opened up the door for our own government to listen in on each and every conversation we have each day without just cause"

Both sides are wrong but neither see it and are only driven by their own extreme ideologies. Somewhere in the middle has to be the majority of us, no? I'm finding it hard each and every day to NOT believe that the true majority lies in the heart of the bell curve but just keeps getting ignored in favor of extreme talking points trying to drive agenda.

23 October 2012

You Can't Fix Stupid

Last night, while I was watching the Chicago Bears beat up the Detroit Lions, the third and final Presidential Debate was going on.

Since I early voted that very afternoon, there really is no reason for me to watch and frankly, the BEARS were on, so there was no choice.

I 'second screen' while watching most sports and had Hootsuite wide open.  It was a weird mix of a stream.  33% with political punditry, 33% Monday Night Football and 33% NLCS.  Not long after the debate ended I saw THIS tweet go by from Ann Coulter.

I was stunned.

Look, I'm not one to get hung up on word-policing.  I'm pretty much of the mind that there should never be controls on words and language.  You do not have a 'right' to NOT be offended, like I HAVE the right of free speech.

Further, I really like Ann Coulter and although I see her for what she is, a conservative whip who is there to over-bloviate the right wing agenda, I'm an Independent voter and see merits in both sides of the argument and cast my votes as such when entering the voting booth.

I decided to respond as follows:
But for as much as I've heard how Joe Biden disrespected Paul Ryan in the one and only VP debate and how Barack Obama has been disrespectful to Mitt Romney, from where I sit, there has been a continuous stream, for four years, of disrespect to the office of the President by the right side of the aisle which pales in comparison to anything that has happened in this election season.

Well Ms. Coulter, you've just been pwned by a VERY Special Olympian.  You were classless in your comment last night and when "icons" of the Right decide to degrade themselves by using words like you did, you just give permission to all of your followers to do the same.  Way to raise the level of discourse.  Mr. John Franklin Stephens has taken you to task.

22 October 2012

1 week, 1 pound, slow start

7 days into my Weight Watchers diet plan and I'm down 1 pound.  I'm not happy but then again, I know I wasn't as vigilant as I should have been and the Saturday night dinner out at The Clubhouse blew scads of points by my inability to refuse a massive White Chocolate Cheesecake dessert.  Until dessert, I still would have been a pretty good boy.

So frankly, I'm actually pretty happy that I lost one pound, it could have been a gainer week and that would have been disgusting in general.

This week will be a bunch better.  Starting to plan out the dinners so that they are points-friendly and have a breakfast/lunch plan now that at least gets to me 45-50 points remaining for the rest of the day.

19 October 2012

Did Harbaugh take the points?

So it was a somewhat weird ending to the Thursday night football game last night.

Up 7 points and having Seattle pinned back on their own 7 yard line, the 49ers drew a chop block penalty that happened in the end zone.  Seattle did complete the pass and ended up about 6 inches short of the first down on a 4th and long.

Because the penalty happened in the end zone though, the ruling is that the 49ers would get a safety and then receive the kick-off being up by 9 points.

But, I guess believing that "things go crazy" Jim Harbaugh asked for a measurement to ensure Seattle didn't make the first down and then when that was verified he declined the penalty, forgo the 2 points and just take the ball and kneel on it to end the game.

I'm not sure what he was worried about since in this day and age of football, there's no way to score 9 points to tie the game, he was going to receive the kick-off (albeit it could have been an onside one) and then just either kneel on it, or play defense.

So this very interesting choice had me immediately look up what the line was in Vegas for this game and lo and behold, it was the 49ers -7.5.  Harbaugh's decision thus awarded anyone who took the points with Seattle and screwed over anyone who was giving the points.

With the craziness of the replacement refs this year and the NBA referee betting scandal a few years ago, one would think that the NFL might want to investigate this.

Those who know me, know I never liked Jim when he was playing for the Bears (as well as at Michigan) and when he bought in at Panther Racing (IndyCar), it made me want to hate that team even more and THEN to find out his sister is married to Tom Crean (former Coach at Marquette), this guy just continues to annoy the cr@p out of me.  So if he just MIGHT be involved in some scheme, I wouldn't feel for him at all.

17 October 2012

Pencils Down, Work NOT Checked (again)

The other day I ranted a bit about marketing emails (which I opted-in to receive) showing up in my inbox and the sender or their contracted agency NOT ensuring that the images have been loaded to the live environment.

Two days later and they still haven't learned.

HEY DISNEY, maybe you need to change suppliers here, eh?  Poor quality is something NOT expected from you and we know how nuts you are about image.

16 October 2012

Important Election Season Announcement

October 16, 2012

North Aurora, IL (October 16, 2012) - During this venomous and bitter election season, some specific issues have become evident to Brian LoCicero and therefore he has a prepared statement included below.  There will be no questions entertained subsequent to the release of this statement and no interviews will be granted.

Fellow foursquare citizens:  Although I've been playing the foursquare 'game' for several years now, I find it increasingly annoying that the number of specials or offers either being given for checking in or, most of all, obtaining the position of Mayor have been woeful at best.

foursquare's forged relationship with American Express has basically eliminated any discount that I can obtain by checking in to some of my favorite places as I'm not an Amex cardmember and frankly, most businesses that I frequent are not seeing it worth their time to utilize the business interface to post specials or reward players.

Further, for many businesses, their Mayor's are employees.  For private businesses, this is perfectly fine but for retail businesses, the point isn't to have an employee, who seemingly should be there everyday, hold Mayorship but in fact, the customers should be the ones competing for that prestigious position.

It is with a mildly heavy heart that I announce that I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination from my iPhone for another term as your Mayor of such lovely places as Mother's Restaurant, Randall Crossing Restaurant, Honey Jam Cafe and the most esteemed Village Mattress.

This doesn't mean I won't check-in from time to time especially at a new restaurant, store, or event but since there is absolutely no benefit to becoming Mayor, my run has to come to an end.

Thank you, and God Bless America!

leave a message below

About Brian LoCicero
Swallows a lot of aggression with a lot of pizza

About Foursquare
Early mobile app that was a great concept but seems to have fallen flat when Facebook rolled out their own version.

this release may contain forward looking information but seriously, if you're using this to make major decisions in your life or to figure out whether or not to invest in foursquare or Brian LoCicero, you're making a huge mistake ;-p

15 October 2012

Pencils Down & Check Your Work

I'm getting increasingly tired of companies that I'm fond of, outsourcing their campaign emails and then continuously having issues, but not changing up suppliers or even responding to me when I let them know it's all fanarkled up.

The biggest offender is Pet Supplies Plus who RARELY has the images that are embedded in the HTML email loaded on their live servers.  When the entire email is image-based, this means your users open the email to nothing but blocks and 'alt-text'.  A couple hours go by and I re-open that email and viola, there's my happy email campaign.

Today, however, the usually buttoned up Disney Corp has blown it.  A Jake and the Neverland Pirates email is broken down.

In both cases, they do provide the link so that if you can't read the email, it'll take you to the web page, however, the images are looking for the same source and therefore, even the web page is blank with loads of 'alt-text' all over the place.

I realize that in most organizations, email campaigns are relegated down to the cheapest labor or outsourced to the big companies (Fishbowl, Constant Contact) who offer below ground costs, but it is one of the most common touch points with your brand loyalists and in a lot of cases, some early impressions with your new customers.

Get your shizzle together and proof your work, have a quality control step that someone in the organization has to punch through on the LIVE site to ensure everything has loaded before you give the push order to send the email.  It's really simple and doesn't cost you very much.

Uncle Tubby

To borrow a tag from my friend Heidi, I'm Uncle Tubby. It just means I *try* to eat well, but have a general lack of self control and indulge in whatever I damn well want.

To that end, under a challenge from my wife, I've joined Weight Watchers to see if I can make any headway.

Surprisingly, it's highly customizeable and thank Jesus they have an iPad app, otherwise I'd have an issue here at the start where I need to track everything passing these sweet, kissable lips of mine.

Original goal here is 30 pounds. Sure, in the words of Al McGuire, it's like a deck chair falling off the Queen Mary, but at this point, my fat arse needs to start something.

13 October 2012

Yes, I'm still alive

Sadly, life happens, work happens, family happens and when they all happen together, like they honestly do for most people, then some of the free-time pleasures are sacrificed like blog posts.

As I stare the end of the year in the face, I try to resolve to be better at this.  Some say I have a talent, most don't but nonetheless, there's passion, anger and millions of words that usually need to burst out of this brain of mine.

I'm not going to make this a New Year's Resolution, but I am going to make a concerted effort to be organized, not be afraid to have a 50-word post and not put pressure on myself to create masterpieces for each post.

We'll see.

Busy holiday season coming up but will force time to write about what's gone on this year.

11 February 2012

Hotdog, Hotdog, Hot Diggity Dog

Only a few days left until we leave for Florida and little Mister's FIRST ever, Walt Disney World experience.  If you don't know, we've held off on telling him we're ACTUALLY going because, as anyone who has ever had a 4-year old can tell you, if you tell the little monkeys more than 1 day before you're actually going, you'll be asked 4,293 times a day if tomorrow is the day we go.

So last night at dinner (he chose Eddie's Pizza because he loves it and since he took his nap at school AND got his stamp for being good, it was his choice; hey, the kid's got taste) we asked him what he would like to do in Florida.

When he let out with a "Go to Mickey's House" comment, I almost put a brown stripe in the back of my pants.  Is the kid psychic or does he just overhear too much for his own good?  Yeah, probably the latter.

We asked him what he thought Mickey's House might look like, what might be there.  He thought it was mostly like the MM Clubhouse on TV and that there is a Castle like at the beginning of all the movies (Cinderella's castle with the fireworks shooting) and that's pretty good because that IS pretty much like it is but with a couple hundred thousand other people who get in your way and annoy you while standing in lines and, oh yeah, wayyyyyyy over priced food, drink and souvenirs but that's not the point.

I gave him some grief and said, "Well, we WILL be driving BY Mickey's House so maybe you'll be able to see it from the highway and wave at him, but we need to get to Nana and Papa's House".

He seemed content with that but MK asked him if he thought Mickey's Hizzouse had rides like roller-coasters and he said, "Yeah, but I don't want to go on the ones that go upside down."  I love how he's already assumed he's going on ANYTHING at Disney since we didn't confirm we were going but it once again cemented in my head that he really IS my child in that, I puke on any roller coaster that goes anywhere more than 90° vertical.

He's been so excited about going to Florida that his behavior has been on it's OWN roller-coaster as of late.

One day he's absolutely the drunk at the end of the bar, harassing everyone coming through the door, but because he's the son of the owner, no one calls the Police, and the next day he's Zac Efron/Justin Bieber cute and can do no wrong.  (For the record, I'd call the Police on Zac/Justin just because they are results of the machine and Satan's Spawn and will end up AS the drunk at the end of the bar someday, but that's not what I was going for in my original statement)

But because of the behavior swings, we've really had to dangle some freakishly huge, State Fair-sized carrots in front of him and for the most part, it's working.  The bad news is, of course, that we've burned one more trick-in-our-bag that he'll be hip to from this point forward.  But he seems to be on the right path and that's good.

We decided awhile ago that with the long car ride, there's going to be a predictable meltdown somewhere in North Georgia and THAT'S when we tell him we're going to Disney just for our own sanity.

But that's about it for now, the excitement builds.  But we need to get through the weekend first.

03 February 2012

Cautionary Advice: Big Game Advertsing and the "Polls"

Okay all my friends.

Most of America and a fair amount of the rest of the world will be sitting down on Sunday night to watch the "Big Game" (can't use the actual words in print/press for fear of lawsuit by the NFL) and inevitably what will be most discussed is the commercials, or adverts that run during the game.

As a seasoned Market Research Professional, here's why the news and all of you should put little to no weight behind those morning after polls or meters on what was the "best ad" during the game.

First of all, although there will be more polls than ever this year, many of the new ones will claim that they gathered their data via Facebook and Twitter which on the face of it makes it seem like it's the opinion of MILLIONS of people and therefore "more valid".  In reality, and from a sampling statistics point of view, the sample is inherently biased in that it's only of people who are willing to give an opinion and who do so via social media.  There will be no controls to ensure that, for example, Mississippi represents the .95% of the US that it does.  So if, for some reason, 3% of the responses are from MS and plenty of other variations across the States it erodes the confidence level of those results.  Additionally, there's no balance based on age, gender, income, etc., which are important things when it comes to the validity of research and that's why specifically the USA Today poll is not scientific one bit.

Secondly, in almost all advertising testing that we do, we randomize the order of the ads we show consumers.  The ads during the game will play in a prescribed order and all viewers will see them in the same order.  If, for some reason, the second or third ad is really really funny, and very well could be the best, then all ads after it are evaluated to the standard set by that ad and maybe an ad that ends up in 3rd or 4th place in these "polls", if it had been seen first in order, would have been the winner.  This is a basic tenet of good research that each and every year is ignored.

Thirdly, let's be honest, people do not pay attention to every ad.  There are bathroom breaks, there's the euphoria after a big score or big play that might be being debated at your viewing party or celebrated as the network goes to commercial and if, for some reason, it's a blow-out, then people turn back to the social aspect of their parties and pay less attention to the ads running in the 3rd or 4th quarter unfortunately penalizing those ads.

Lastly, and this is the thing that has irked me the most in the last couple of weeks, several of the advertisers (Honda, Acura to name a few) have truly blown up their own "spot" by running the ads, either in protracted version or in edited version on YouTube or their own websites far in advance of the big game.  This pre-exposure taints the ability for any true immediate impression of the ad to be measured.  Why a company would pay $3.5M for their :30 to run and then run it on the Internet prior to that is beyond me, but I would argue that by the time of the game, they may already be experiencing some wear-out of the ad.

That's the argument from the Market Research background on why those polls really aren't a true measure of what ads are the "best".

This year will also have commercials dominated by attempts to integrate social media into their big spend. Watch for some of these horribly used social media tools by almost every advertiser as most are still struggling with how to "play in the social media space".  Although I have to say my last bullet point has the biggest potential to be the best one used during the day, and is the one attempt I've seen, being used the most properly.
  • The hashtag # will likely be in almost every ad.  You've seen this in many ads already but if you're not a regular user of Twitter, then it's probably meaningless.  Additionally, I'm not sure I want to be following the hashtag on my Twitter feed because frankly, it's going to be a sea of opinions from many that won't mean much
  • 2D QR codes.  GoDaddy has already said that they will have a 2D code in their ads so it can take you right to their website.  You can do this if a) you even know what it is, b) you either pause your TV (with your DVR) or go back to it so you can take a picture of it with your mobile phone, c) you have a piece of free software on your phone to interpret the code and be able to use it's functionality.   This all is fine and well but if it just takes you to a website, then the advertiser is missing a key opportunity with the consumer.  Give us something for their effort (and for most who are technically challenged it IS an effort) and it'll be successful but I bet you 95% of any use of this tool just takes consumers to the advertiser's website (boring)
  • Shazam logo.  I really like this one.  There is a app on iPhones, Android devices and others that "listens" to the media being played via the microphone on the phone and then the app will direct you to some additional enhanced content or offer.  The primary use of this app is so when you hear a song on the radio (or on tv or in a movie or anywhere) and you don't know who sings it, you can "tag" it and then you can buy it and download it or look it's details up later.  Some retailers and advertisers as well as some cable programs (Covert Affairs for one) are now using this app in genius ways to get consumers to specialized, app-only content.  If that happens with any ads during the game I'll be really pleased.  If it just takes you to a website, again it's a #fail.  UPDATE: IT WILL HAPPEN DURING GAME
UPDATE 2:  I got this email from Shazam (as an app user).  Very excited to see them proactively doing this, it's going to be huge for them although I can't say I'm excited about them getting into the "poll" business either.  The universe of app users can't be a balanced sample either!!

Okay, so I've probably bored most of you and I don't say all this to take any fun out of the game but I think as with political polls, Americans need to have more open eyes and transparency into what goes into quality-based market research and what happens when you lack the controls around sampling when doing it.

There are going to be some really good advertising and some real duds, but that's what we talk about every year and we all have fun re-living for days after the game.

For the record, I don't have a preference one way or another on who wins the game and since I have many friends who support both teams, I'll just say "Go Team"!

Thanks for listening.  It's how I make a living and I've been doing it for 20+ years.  Views expressed here are mine alone and not those of my employer(s).

28 January 2012

(W)horseshoe to the Head

When Jim Irsay says that Peyton Manning should "keep it (his comments) in the family", he does remember that it's a family that moved a football team under darkness of night out of the City of Baltimore, right?

His comments specifically were, "The horseshoe always comes first, and I think one thing he's always known, because he's been around it so long, is that, you know, you keep it in the family. If you've got a problem you talk to each other, it's not about campaigning or anything like that."

Jim, look, I know it was your Father but it was YOUR family who screwed over loyal fans in one of the most fantastic cities of the world.  Your family isn't as pristine and clean as you'd like it to be bub.

Peace, out!

19 January 2012

Reason 532 why I love...

...working on the same floor as all of IT support:

Hearing the rolling of the track wheel and pressing of keys on a Blackberry from INSIDE the stalls in the bathroom.

Added bonus when an alert tone goes off for a text message or a new email.

Dudes, drop your deuce and leave the crackberry at your desk.

09 January 2012

Striking fear in the hearts of married men...

are the words "Honey, I've lost my engagement/wedding ring".

And those are the words I heard on Saturday night around 6:20pm.

We had finished dinner at one of our favorite pizzerias and had walked down the street to one of those custom popcorn shops that are popping up now as quickly as cupcake joints.  As MK was paying for our indulgences, she looked at her hand and noticed that the "rock" was gone.

I almost wish we were psych patients at the time and someone was monitoring our brain waves and activity.  I imagine that it plays out something like this:
  • The woman thinks about all the sentimentality, the meaning, the love, flashes to the moment she was proposed to, about how she's let down her husband, how it is irreplaceable
  • The man thinks, "holy cr@p, that's a shedload of money down the drain, thank GOD I have it insured"
Now, that's the funny me making that up but I'm probably not far off.  I can tell you with hand on heart that I thought the following:

First, I thought about what MK was feeling and how she was freaking out and THEN, I started retracing all the steps and where we've been for the last 2-4 hours.  I think it's truly how men are programmed.  We're functional beings and given a task we immediately put our brain into full-on process mode to "solve the problem". 

To be honest, for the first 10-15 minutes I didn't think once about the emotional part, it was hunter-gatherer "must find ring, must re-track every step until found" caveman mentality.  Sappy enough, but this is what "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" basically tells us.

Yes, I read that thing 12-13 years ago but at some point it's pretty accurate for most.  But didn't anyone other than me think that there was no way John Gray was heterosexual?  It's probably what gave him the insight into both genders, but I didn't see him trot out his own wife to give credibility.  That said, it's still pretty accurate.

So that's what we did.  Backtrack through the popcorn shop, then on the sidewalk all the way back to the pizzeria.  I was amazed at the kindness that the two couples showed at the table we sat at in that they all jumped out of their chairs and were on the floor with me looking under our previous table.  Along the way, my caveman instincts were mentally marking places we couldn't see/were tough to see so that at 7:00am when I was back in downtown Geneva on my hands and knees I would pay special attention to those "high risk areas"

All shop owners took our name and number in case they or their clean up crews were honest, found it and would call us and everyone was sympathetic and willing to help however they could, which is nice to see in this age of self-importance.

We spent probably twenty minutes looking around our car using a flashing light/glow wand (thank you large circus that was recently in town) to look around the car on the sidewalk and grass with no avail.

After resigning ourselves to move on to the next part of our search, the car and then Walgreen's and all other places my wife stopped during the day as well as ripping apart our house, my wife decided to look in what has affectionately been called "Momma Bag".

Momma Bag is the amalgamation of coloring books, sticker sheets, crayons, markers, pictures, paper, you name it to help occupy the little man's mind and hands when we're out at dinner or wherever.  She had been in the bag several times during dinner.  She decided to go through it all in the car before I pulled away.  I was nervous because it was dark and emptying bags can create further problems.

and there, at the bottom of the bag, was the ring.  Several thank God's were exchanged as well as a few Hallelujah's.  My wife was relieved.  My brain was still categorizing the places I still needed to search (yes, men are a bit slower).  I was relieved as well and it made the drive home a lot more pleasant than it could have been.  Even on the ride home, I was thinking about how that discussion goes with your Insurance guy.

Every year I curse that "special rider" on our home owners insurance that's covering that specific piece of jewelry as I don't always feel the premium justifies the item.  Yep, color me part of the converted.  Happy to pay that premium this coming June and for every year afterwards.

The upshot to all of this is that my wife has been shedding pounds like I eat chicken wings (uh, maybe that's not a good example of how we're exhibiting opposite behavior) and I'm so extremely proud of her and her dedication to getting to a healthier life.

With all that is good about that, one has to remember that things like rings and pants don't fit the way they used to.  If the pants fall down around your ankles, you're just em-bare-assed, but when a ring falls off, it strikes fear into the hearts of men and women.

06 January 2012

Missed Opportunity!!

Now I wish I had paid for our Cubs 2011 Season Tix with a check last year.  The autographed ball we would have gotten with Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner and Starlin Castro, the young superstars of the Jim Hendry era truly would now be a collector's piece.
In the 2010 year-end summary from Tom Ricketts an entire paragraph was this:

The 2010 highlights revolved around our home grown talent.  Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner developed into budding stars, with Castro and Colvin in the NL Rookie of the Year discussion.  That young group was enhanced by the August promotion of Casey Coleman, who went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four starts. All need to take the next step in 2011, but we are very encouraged to have a group of young, home grown players emerge as regulars in 2010.

Colvin is now in Cincinnati (12/8/2011 trade), Cashner is off to San Diego (1/6/2012 trade), and Castro might lose his work visa if convicted of felony rape.

Oh well, lost money.  Maybe next year.

04 January 2012

Funny Work emails: Episode 1

I think we all would love to reply-all to a company-wide email with smart ass remarks, but then, in this crappy economy we all need our jobs more than we need food.

Here's today's gem, which, we get every two weeks throughout the year:

     A reminder that Housekeeping will be cleaning out both the 4th and 6th floor refrigerators this coming Friday.  Please see to it that all your personal items are removed before then.

I would love to reply with:
     "Oh, thanks so much for the reminder.  I need to get that severed woman's head and hands out of there before the authorities find them."

02 January 2012

The genius of "Nana"

From very early in my life, I always knew that my Mother was extremely creative.  After all, since she was a teacher of 1st & 2nd graders, she needed to show mad skillz at getting them to pay attention and learn something so that they didn't end up being a bunch of tools later in life.

I've been amazed at how, even after 30+ years since early retirement, she continues to use those skills to help teach and open up a world of knowledge to her Little Prince, her grandson, my son, Aidan.

Two years ago, I laughed out loud at seeing the appearance of construction paper cut out into cars, airplanes and other creative shapes for Aidan to put stickers onto or to color or to do whatever he wanted with them.  They were the exact same cut-outs that she used with my brother and I when we were little and with her students.  The templates were originally cut out of manila folders and she STILL has them.

But she's also had some "new tricks" up her sleeves that update methods she used back in the day.

The newest one takes the cake though:

We've already instilled a strong sense of "saving" into Aidan.  He has his own savings account at our local bank, he has a piggy bank that he puts spare change into weekly, and he participates in the "bank at school" program that our bank has with The Goddard School which he attends.

My parents are also headed back to Florida tomorrow and so their contact with Aidan will now be limited to phone calls and/or Internet video calls on the weekends.  He has made it infinitely clear that he didn't want Nana & Papa to go back to Florida because he was going to miss them and all the fun that they have together.  He said that he was going to be sad about it.  It's always a teary time for my Mom when she says goodbye to Aidan when they won't see each other for more than a week.  Waterworks flow.

It's with all of this in mind that she's created a nifty counting/savings/calendar technique to help ease the pain of the distance between she and Aidan.  She gave him a roll of pennies last night.  She told him that when he got home, to put 6 pennies into his "money bank" and then each morning thereafter, to put one more penny into the bank.  Not only does he make some money but when he gets down to the last penny left and he puts it into his bank, THAT is the day we pack up the car and head off to Florida on vacation.

Today was the first morning and he ran right to the bank and reminded me to help him get one penny out of the roll.  It's going to kill him to still wait 43 more days, but at least he'll know we're getting closer.