Irish Poetic Justice

Posted on October 6, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Kind of a frontier justice thing going on in Ireland. According to the Financial Times, the opposition party is so enraged with the incumbents for destroying the country’s economy that they’re actually backing them for re-election, telling them they’re going to fix the #&%$# mess they’ve got them into. Then they’ll run them out of office. To paraphrase Yeats, the centre-right coalition in Dublin will not hold much longer.

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DIY Auto Repair And The Art Of Website Coding

Posted on June 20, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

1994 Ford Thunderbird LX

Image via Wikipedia

A few years – yes, years – back I took it into my head to transform my aging 1994 Ford Thunderbird into a mean street machine.

Visions of NASCAR-style glory danced within my mechanically under-developed mind.

I figured that retooling the engine would be a good place to start.

Youth Not Wasted On Fast Cars

Just so you know, I did not waste my youth souping up cars. I found other ways to waste those now-irretrievably lost salad years.


Being new to this process, I was amazed how easy it was to disassemble your modern-day car.

Fun, too.

An exciting voyage of discovery, this was, my maiden journey into the heart of the land of combustion engineering.

You’ve probably guessed the rest of the story.

Go Ahead. Bloody My Knuckles Again!

Putting said engine back together again, so that all the parts mesh and do not clash in mortal combat with each other. That is a different turn of the wrench.

Today, that very same car, older, rustier, possibly wiser in some way, sits like a dull, sun struck automotive Buddha in my driveway out back.

It’s just waiting for me to put those final intricate parts such as the valve keepers and timing gear components back in – in good working order.

Driven To Compute

Meanwhile my interests, savage and unpredictable as always, have shifted.

I now devote considerable amounts of spare time – is there any such thing as “spare time” in an existential sense? –to learning Visual Basic and ASP.NET as a means of turning out performance-oriented websites.

One of these days – perhaps tomorrow even – I’ll return to the grease-monkey business of getting that Thunderbird back in working order.

The Hulk Is Out There, Waiting In A Somewhat Sinister Fashion

I too am now older and wiser, probably rustier too, but also no less dazzled by the idea of turning that moldering hulk of metal into a screaming piece of 4-wheeled lightning!

But first, I’ve got to get this new website up and running.

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Gaga’s Yankee Pride

Posted on June 20, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Lady GaGa visit Sweden at Sommarkrysset, Gröna...

Image via Wikipedia

In today’s addition to the “what, are you nuts?” category:

Lady Gaga apparently sweet-talked her way around customary post-game rules and slipped into the Yankees’ locker room this weekend. Where she reportedly entertained the troops in bawdy rock ‘n roll fashion.

Apparently this was an unwanted intrusion, a blending of entertainment genres so to speak. The Gaga behaved as The Gaga will, and the Yankees were outraged – yes, outraged – over the raucous rock ‘n roller’s behavior.

You can’t blame Gaga – a girl’s got to make a living after all – and you probably can’t blame the security detail that failed to make the stop. Saying “no” in the face of overwhelming celebrity, that’s a bit much to ask from the common foot soldier.

Anyway, it’s all a bit nostalgic in a way – surely the sanctity of the Yankee locker room of the 1920s, frequented by the likes of the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth himself, was occasionally violated by a visitor or two from the New York demi-world (and I don’t mean Walter Winchell).

As for the Yankee PR people, what could be more fun than dealing with the fallout from The Gaga’s Yankee conquest?

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Money For Sale

Posted on June 18, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |


Tight credit markets? Not so much at US Federal Credit Union in Minneapolis, judging from lawn sign seen on Friday, June 18, 2010.

Opening up credit markets is just what the small business doctor would order.

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Skirting the NBA Dress Code

Posted on June 18, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Basketball SVG

Image via Wikipedia

NBA dress code dictates jackets and ties as game-time attire for coaches.

So, demented minds want to know, what if the NBA called for coaches to wear mini-skirts and heels? How would that sit with the likes of Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson?

Upskirt photo artist Perez Hilton would likely approve, but what about the general sporting public?

Okay, okay, beskirted sportsmen perfectly acceptable in Scotland, I know.

An idea whose time will never come? Let’s hope so!

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No Country For Dull Press Releases

Posted on March 19, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations, Public Relations Commentary, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

(And Other Thoughts In A Public Relations Vein)

Here’s best-selling author Michael Connelly on the state of the newspaper world, as seen through the eyes of Jack McEvoy, erstwhile star crime beat reporter for the fictional L.A. Times, a major daily newspaper in the City of Angels. In Scarecrow, Connelly’s 2009 novel, McEvoy is going the way of all aging reportorial flesh. Which is to say, he’s been riffed, let-go, pink-slipped, fired, in short, a casualty of the ongoing catastrophe that is 21st century newspaper journalism.

“There was no newspaper out there in the market for an over-40 cop shop reporter…Like the paper and ink newspaper itself, my time was over. It was all about the Internet now. It was about hourly uploads to online editions and blogs. It was about television tie-ins and Twitter updates…The morning paper might as well be called the Daily Afterthought. Everything in it was posted on the web the night before.”

newspaper revenue projections

Connelly’s a former Los Angeles Times cop shop reporter himself, so he knows whereof his bloodied lead character rants.

Okay then.

The newspaper business is in a bad way, no argument there.

But where does that leave us, the scribbling foot soldiers of the public relations world?

Writing, Still A Primary Tool Of The PR Trade?

Does good writing matter anymore, PR-wise? And if so, how so?

I was thinking all this through the other day as I pondered a client’s reaction to a piece of writing I had produced for publication – on the client’s behalf — in a daily newspaper. In a slight bit of deadline haste – ever had an anxious editor say you have to make a few last minute changes just before the ink hits the newsprint? — I put in a sentence that might not have totally captured my client’s thought process. My bad. Expediency can be a killer. Fortunately I had an understanding client, who did not let one bad moment spoil what I believe to be a good working relationship.

But, let’s think about this for a moment more. Here we are, in the post-literate age supposedly, and words obviously still count for something. More to the point, the written word counts, even if its published in that most maligned of modern media institutions, the daily newspaper.

Why is that?

Writing Sticks.

I thought of all the words that pour forth from the mouths of politicians and corporate spokespeople, celebrities, athletes, scientists, lawyers, cops (a passing nod to the crime beat reporter there), experts of all stripes, luncheon keynote speakers, not to mention babes, all emptying into the mighty maw of broadcast, print, Internet and personal journalism (AKA the grapevine). Such a mighty roar, and yet the power of the printed word is such that it can make a grown man nearly cry if he gets it wrong.

And why is that?

The only thing I can think of is that the printed word, is still understood to have lasting significance. Maybe that’s granting it a magical essence that it really doesn’t deserve. Personally, I don’t think that’s true though.

People instinctively know that they can be moved by the power of well-written words, be they found in a press release, a corporate backgrounder, a brochure, a newsletter, even – God forbid – in a Twitter alert. Moved to think, to learn, to take an action. Stuff that moves markets, in other words.

It may be that ink and paper newspapers are slouching towards extinction. I don’t know for sure about that. Everybody seemed to declare them dead in 2009, but even so recently as yesterday I found someone willing to sell me a hard copy of the daily newspaper over the counter for 50 cents.

But words in print, hand-crafted for a specific commercial/social realism purpose such as selling a product, building brand awareness, establishing a position, informing and motivating a target audience (or audiences)?

Not Quite As Post-Literate As We’d Like To Think.

I think my client was dead-on in expressing a concern about the way in which the newspaper article – an op-ed piece, as it were – depicted the issue at hand. There is magic in the printed word (and let’s call it like it is, the Internet does bear a striking resemblance to the world of print in some ways, noticeably by its durability). Good writing is powerful. It has staying power. It is memorable. When applied commercially, it is a reflection of the company that sponsors it.

Newspapering may not be what it once was. Public relations isn’t what it used to be either (it’s better, in my opinion, more comprehensive, more multi-dimensional).

But good writing, good story-telling, there’s a need for that – quite possibly now more than ever, what with the increasing emphasis on content as a marketable business and social commodity.

So while Jack McEvoy might be out of a job (or maybe not, you should really read Scarecrow to find out what happens to him, it’s a good read), those of us who labor away in the PR trenches know this: you can’t keep a good press release down!




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3 Sins For Sister Coakley To Pin Upon Her Opponent

Posted on January 15, 2010. Filed under: Politics and Punditry, Uncategorized |

Anyone who’s ever worked the phones for a national political campaign knows the drill: here’s your script, we’ve got 3 simple message points, pound away at them for all you’re worth.

President Obama’s on the campaign trail for Democrat Martha Coakley, contender for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy. (It’s actually not Ted Kennedy’s seat that’s at stake, but rather the Senate seat for the people of Massachusetts, as Republican contender Scott Brown noted in a recent debate. But we’re talking semantics now, a debatable issue in a closely contested political contestant in which nothing less than the future of the Republic’s political drift is at stake.)

The President has pledged to campaign for Coakley in-state this coming Sunday. He was getting warmed up today.

President Obama’s 3 talking points that define the Massachusetts contest, as heard on PBS’s NewsHour(MacNeil/Lehrer) tonight:

  • Wall Street schemers
  • Dastardly insurance companies
  • Big polluters

So that’s it, a simple sauce all told. Political browbeating in a nutshell. The three whipping boys of the American Apocalypse, ca. 2010, all staked out and ready for the lash.

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Political Foot-In-Mouth Fetish

Posted on January 15, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations, Public Relations Commentary, Uncategorized |

Ok, Harry. You said it. You thought it was off-the-record. So you sez. Didn’t anybody ever tell you that off-the-cuff often trumps off-the-record?
So, Harry now what do you do? Do you:

  • Ask for forgiveness. Oops, tried that.
  • Pretend it was all a big misunderstanding. Oops, tried that.
  • Blame it on Hostess Twinkies.
  • Swear upon a stack of Bibles that you were channeling Rush Limbaugh when you said it.
  • Claim you suffered a momentary flashback to the 1950s when white guys in power actually talked like that.
  • Review your options for retirement living.

The latterly choice, Harry, is looking more and more like the best choice. Consider the virtues of Switzerland.
Too bad, Harry, that an improvident slip of the tongue has besmirched your reputation, such as it was. You have lost the moral high ground, Harry. Pretty hard to take it back. Just ask the leaders of the free world’s biggest financial institutions.
There’s only so much that PR can do for a situation like this. (See the first rule of media relations again, “Nothing’s ever off-the-record” and rule #2, “The reporter is not there to be your friend.”)
Then again, there’s the rule that says the reporter is in charge of the question, and you’re in charge of the answer. I think you muffed that one, Harry.
Basic media relations 101, Harry. We teach it every day in the PR trenches.

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Where The Boys Are

Posted on January 8, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

A lonely nation of young men turns its eyes to…COED Magazine on the Web. One of the fastest-growing WordPress sites…easy to see why with features like How To Sleep In Your Car, Kim Kardashian Over Dose and How To Know If Your Girl Friend’s A Keeper along with mucho machismo beer bong tips and techniques plus a Consumer Reports type test of whether K-Y Intense lives up to the hype. Sheesh. The collegiate spirit lives on.

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Extremely Hostile Takeover

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

We’ve all been there – Reuters reporting on discovery of long-missing painting “Charles I Insulted By Cromwell’s Soldiers.” Charles looking a bit disconcerted by events, which are leading up to his beheading. Don’t make a practice of it – but most agency people can probably relate. Hope the link to Reuters image below works…

Paul Delaroche painting thought lost, Reuters image

King Charles I faces the music after losing kingdom

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New Chase Credit Card Marketed With Honor

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Responsible credit card use is given its due in a Chase TV spot promoting its new Blueprint card. A man purchases a new diamond ring for the love of his life and presses the “Full Pay” button when completing the transaction. It’s a zeitgeist moment. Buy yes, put it on your credit card, yes, but don’t be foolish and get yourself in debt. That’s life in the credit card biz in 2009.

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Praised by damned review

Posted on November 19, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Not sure what to make of the movie “Antichrist,” Minneapolis Star Tribune movie critic Colin Covert says “‘Antichrist’ is not a film to be enjoyed.” And yet, he gives it 3 1/2 stars out of 4. Is that a riot or what? Watching the Lars von Trier flic “is to experience unrelenting pain, shading into revulsion,” he reveals. Perhaps best seen when in a state of extreme masochism then. One must be drunk on something, as Baudelaire says, so why not a cinematically-induced haze of masochism? At any rate, Covert does say that it is a “fiercely gorgeous” movie that “compels our attention and respect.” Really? Well, it sounds as if it’s worth seeing on the same grounds that “Last House on the Left” is worth seeing. Feels so good to feel so bad.

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Posted on November 19, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

testing to see if posting is operable

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