Some of the best points from any post are the comments that are made in response to the post. Sometimes when I comment on a blog, I like to know  when someone else comments after me. To me, it’s like reading another part of the conversation.

There is now a feature on Grin and Grumble that enables you to follow others’ comments. After you comment, simply check the box that says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.”

Follow comments

Do me a favor. Let me know if it works by posting a comment, checking the box, and seeing if you are notified when someone else comments.


Word Wise

I like words.

Whenever I see the word “flautist” for example,  I think of a professional farter. Flautist, flatulence. See what I mean? They sound alike.  It’s even better when someone says it. Flautist.

Cracks me up.

What are some of your favorite words? They don’t have to be related to bathroom humor.

I found myself disturbed by Massachusetts Governor Patrick’s proposed 19 cent increase in the gas tax. That’s serious money. Imagine the cost if crude oil prices soar again. Governor Patrick says that the tax is necessary to pay for transportation issues. Maybe, but I don’t think it’s fair for a populace to be expected to pay for decades of cronyism and mismanagement with such a steep tax.

Suddenly, though, that 19 cent tax increase doesn’t look too bad. The reversal came when I learned of a different proposal, a user fee, that would force all Massachusetts drivers to have GPS chips installed in their vehicles. The GPS chips would track the mileage that each vehicle drives and the state would then charge a quarter cent for each mile driven. The politicians and state can’t manage their budgets, so they instead want to track every mile we drive. Big Brother we don’t want you ’round here.

Massachusetts, like many states, needs to run more efficiently. It needs to development revenue sources (new industries) rather than just rely on tax increases.

Meanwhile, chuck the GPS chips. Instead, purchase a bunch of microphones and install them in any location where budgets are debated. Upload the audio to the web where taxpayers can hear who is advocating for more wasteful spending. A far better use of technology.

Voters, we put politicians into power. Think when you vote.

A Great One Goes

A few weeks ago at work, I was searching for topics that might be of interest to the newly retired. I came upon an article on written by John Updike. Appropriately, the famous author talked of aging in the piece.

I decided to write him and ask if he’d come to our organization and speak. I couldn’t find contact information, but I knew he lived in a nearby town–even knew where approximately in that town–and I found an address that looked to be right. I knew it was a long shot.

I first read Updike in college as part of an American Literature class. I eventually completed a semester-long study of religion in the author’s writing. The semester culminated in a paper entitled, “The Church of Updike.” My time spent studying Updike was some of the best in my education. I was reading excellent writing, forming my own suppositions, and discovering many more questions than I did answers.

I should note my hometown is close to where Updike lived. Shortly after graduating, I went to listen to him read from a book of poetry in a nearby church basement. After, I waited until the crowed had waned and walked up to the great figure of literature. I said hello and told him of my paper. He replied, “Good topic.” He then signed my program and gave me an honorary A.

Today, John Updike died at age 76 from lung cancer. He was a fallible man. His writing was at once shocking, dense, and melodic. Unequivocally, he was a brilliant author.

May the attention, much of it unconventional to say the least, that Updike gave to God and religion serve him well.

One of the cardinal rules of marketing is to know your audience. The better you know it, the more you can appeal to it.

But………………maybe you want to appeal to everyone (or that advertising budget just got cut). You might produce a commercial like the good folks at Loud N Clear. Loud N Clear is a sound amplifier that looks like a Bluetooth ear piece. It’s a must for many people apparently. Here are a few:

  1. An elderly woman playing bingo.
  2. A younger woman listening to her catty neighbor.
  3. A dorky guy who thinks that turning the volume down on the TV will avoid disturbing his sleeping wife.
  4. A mother who doesn’t want to watch her children play.
  5. Another elderly woman walking in nature, seemingly looking for needed protein.
  6. Another dorky guy listening to female party guests who say he’s cute. (In two years, he’s the guy in 3.)
  7. A hunter listening for the scampering of big game.

And, all in two minutes! That’s marketing to a wide audience!

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Link Glimpse for January

I haven’t done a Link Glimpse for some time. Here’s the second part in the series.

These are some sites that I find potentially useful.  See what you think.

  1. Enjoy a virtual gab fest with TalkShoe is a free service that gets people talking on a conference call and adds real-time chat to the scene. I just used it the other day and I was impressed.  There’s content on there that may interest you right now. Be sure to download the TalkShoe Live! Pro software.
  2. If you’re trying to figure out how many megabytes are in a gigabyte, check out James S. Huggins’ Refrigerator Door.
  3. Think you speak perfectly? I bet you mess up some words. 100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English.
  4. Tired of watching Entertainment Tonight? Want some serious thinking? Check out, where people pose questions and philosophers weigh in.
  5. It can be hard to apologize. Here’s some help.
  6. Bored? Have a peek at some full-screen flash video.
  7. Want to know exactly what’s hurting after your first workout of the year? Here are your muscles.
  8. I was taught to avoid clichès in writing. I do love them, though. Do your own search at Cliché Finder.

Do you have some good links, Grinners, Grumblers, and Guests? Let’s hear them!

Spam It!

I get a bunch of spam. It’s ridiculous. I’ve tried anti-spam software, but I find it takes too much management to be effective. It’s faster for me to just quickly scan the spam subject lines and delete the junk. Ctrl + click, and then a quick Ctrl + d is a powerful combination.

Sometimes the headlines do make me laugh. Here’s a sampling of subject lines from the last few days. They’re verbatim.

  1. best performance in bed
  2. Ensure your potence and make love everywhere
  3. I felt my skin look firmer almost instantly
  4. game in bed weak?
  5. Disappointed with your bad performance in bed?
  6. The ladies love it, I know
  7. Please your spouse more often then not
  8. There’s not a trend here. It’s only in your salty imaginations.

  9. spice it up in bed..No Doc Needed
  10. Oprah’s Superfood of the year!
  11. I felt my skin look firmer almost instantly
  12. Have long strong night in BED!
  13. Flush up to 20 lbs. with Acai Berry

Crazy spammers.

Guess the Movie Quotations

I’m taking this from Caity. It’s fun but only if you participate!

1. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
5. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search or other search functions.
6. No checking peoples’ facebook/myspace profiles where they list their favorite movies.

A few rule amendments: I picked 10 favorite quotations not 15 favorite movies. The quotations are all from movies that I really like, however. I didn’t find all the quotations on IMDB. I’ll put hints up every few days if you’re having trouble.

Here they are:

1. “You’ve got security clearance. You can read about it.Top Gun. Bythesea scores!

2. “James, earn this… earn it.” Hint: Oscar winner starring Tom Hanks. Saving Private Ryan. Cool, Soccermama.

3. “Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once – the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains.” Bull Durham. Thanks, Caity.

4. “There’s a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it. “Hint: Oscar winner. Lead is Australian. Hint 2: Character led his people in battle. Answer: Braveheart.

5. “Why’d you have to go and tell her he plays piano? We can’t compete with that.” Hint: A “beautiful” movie with an ensemble cast. Beautiful Girls. Good, bythesea!

6. “You’re a ballplayer, that’s who you are.Hint: Released in 1988 and starred Mark Harmon. Hint 2: Theft of base 4. Stealing Home. Caity got it!

7. “Help me, help you.” Jerry Maguire. Number two for Caity.

8. “Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me, ‘Norman, you like to write stories.’ And I said ‘Yes, I do.’ Then he said, ‘Someday, when you’re ready you might tell our family story. Only then will you understand what happened and why.’ Hint: An Oscar winner about fishing. A River Runs Through It. Great call, bythesea.

9. “My boy’s wicked smart.” Good Will Hunting. Caity gets a hat trick.

10. “Thank you very little.” Hint: Featured a gopher. Caddyshack. A trip back in time, bythesea.

Have fun!

Dear Senator McCain

Dear Senator McCain:

We are not yet a month removed from the presidential election and yet it seems as if it occurred years ago. I hope that you have taken some time to rest and spend time with your family. However, I know you probably haven’t.

You see, Senator McCain, I am not a “McCain Scholar,” but you were my guy in 2000 and 2008. I don’t throw my support behind any person lightly and therefore I studied you carefully. I don’t remember when I first heard of you, but likely it was as a child when reading of the Vietnam conflict and specifically the Hanoi Hilton. No, not exactly light reading for a child, but such history should be read by all.

As many know, you are a part of a long tradition of proud naval officers. By your own admission, you weren’t the greatest student while at the U.S. Naval Academy. Your short-lived career as a naval aviator ended when your plane was shot down. Your ensuing capture by enemy forces and your five years of brutal treatment while in captivity seemed to change your life.

Several traits come to mind when I consider my support of you.

Maverick.  It’s become a cliché, but it defines your support. You don’t break the laws, but you don’t always follow the rules either. You usually act on what you believe, regardless of whether it’s the popular position or not. Your run for the presidency was damaged beyond repair by the Obama’s campaign’s success in linking you to an unpopular administration. We Americans have short memories and this can work to our benefit and detriment. I’m amazed, though, how Americans forgot the significant differences between President Bush and you. I think President Bush dislikes you because your positions often countered his and the Republican Party’s. When I see the bumper sticker that states that a McCain presidency would have been Bush’s third term, I shake my head at the ignorance of the person driving the vehicle.

Forgiveness. Ironically, it was Senator Obama’s unofficial campaign newsletter, Newsweek, which told of a telling example of your capacity to forgive. Apparently in the 2000 campaign, members of the Republican Party turned the dirty politics on you and your family when they said that your youngest child, Bridget, was your illegitimate daughter. The tactic worked in South Carolina, but you didn’t completely turn your back on your party. And what of your years of brutal torture that left you unable to lift your arms above your shoulders? Somehow you were able to forgive the men who inflicted so much emotional and physical pain. Later, you were a leader in improving national relations with Vietnam. This amazes and confuses me. I marvel at your ability to forgive and I hope to take some inspiration from your example.

Patriotism.  Your campaign slogan was “Country First.” Apropos indeed. You have dedicated your life to serving your country. First as a naval officer, next as a congressman, and finally as a senator, you have put country first. You walk the talk. The pride you take in being an American is incredible.

Persistence. You had many opportunities to give up during your years of captivity. Considering the torture you endured, no logical person would have blamed you. Yet, you persisted. You survived. In much less dramatic fashion, you fought hard in the 2000 election when people thought you were, yes, too much of a maverick. In 2008, with money—the lifeblood of modern political candidacy—running low, you stayed in the race. In your early 70s, you hopped from one rally to the next. You were persistent and determined. We should take seriously your concluding remarks of your concession speech when you urge Americans to not give up. You know.

Sir, I don’t know why you lost the election. My guess is that the American people wanted style over substance. I imagine that any person with a little (R) after their name would have had difficultly being elected in 2008. I believe that you strayed from your own beliefs to satisfy the far right groups within the Republican Party. Your choice of Governor Palin as your ticket mate was, true to your character, a risk. The risk worked at first, but maybe in the end it hurt more than it helped. To speak frankly, you’re not 47 years old, fluid in movement, and elegant in speech. You aren’t a media darling. You are about character and patriotism.

I wish the American populace had seen in you what I saw in you. However, they didn’t. I will, as you urge, continue to support this great country. You were gracious in defeat, honorable to the end. You have much to teach us.

Thank you for serving our country. I know you’ll keep fighting for your beliefs. But please spend some time with your family. They deserve you too.

Sean Maney

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The Ultimate Mail Merge

Look out, it’s actually a post about marketing.

I work for a company that helps elders. As such, I’m on the AARP’s e-mail newsletter list. I received an e-mail about a week ago telling me the AARP had gone out and found a surprising response to who’s the best candidate for president. When I clicked on the e-mail, it brought me to this video. It’s quick.

I don’t know how they did it, but the personalization is super. And, you can send it to your friends with their names in it. Imagine how this technology might work to sell a product? Simply associating your name with footage of a product may compel you to purchase the product. The union between product or service and consumer has already been made. Pretty cool.

Here, put your own name in. It will make you grin.

AARP 08 Video
Enter your name to see who can bring real change to Washington.
First Name:
Last Name:

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