Monday, November 24, 2008

Capital punishment - turkey style

Cookthink, a favorite of mine, (type in ANY ingredient, dish, cuisine or mood and it will pull recipes for you!) provided the content for this Thanksgiving themed post, by way of another favorite, Washington City Paper.

Did you know that Ben Franklin advised that killing turkeys by electrocution is the only way to go? And here I was debating the ways of preparation post-mortem.
Spirits, at the same time, are to be fired by a spark sent from side to side through the river, without any other conductor than the water; an experiment which we some time since performed, to the amazement of many. A turkey is to be killed for our dinners by the electrical shock; and roasted by the electrical jack, before a fire kindled by the electrified bottle: when the healths of all the famous electricians in England, France and Germany are to be drank in electrified bumpers [tumblers], under the discharge of guns from the electrical battery.

Good old Benjy. What an innovator. You know, I think he was kicking around during a similar time frame as when Alabama became a state (1776...1819... just work with me). Wonder if they'd be interested in trying out Mr. Franklin's technique in the kitchen over at Alabama's Constitution Village after they take all of the Santa stuff down and things get calmer.

I think I shall pitch the idea. Living history at it's most exciting. Who needs wool spinning and (wool) dying when you have turkey electrocutions! Maybe they can have guinea fowl guillotines as a side attraction!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When improv troops attack!

I have been staring at an InDesign project. All. Week. Long. I am tired of moving images over three pixels because someone has decided that it looks a little "off". But that's not the point.

The point is that I needed something hilarious (or even just something, ANYTHING else) to look at for a minute. Today, my trusty Fodor's newsletter, always good for a little escapist relief on Thursday, provided humor as well.

In a piece about NYC travel, they mentioned this Improv troop's random greeting of strangers returning home from international flights at JFK International Airport...

Welcome Back from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo.

How nice would it be to return home from a long flight (and probably an even longer trip) to a whole crowd of people with flowers, balloons and a huge banner welcoming lil' old you back?! At first, they targeted only people who had drivers picking them up, which made me a little sad. I mean, when have I ever been picked up at an airport by a driver... um, never.

But then, the in-laws of a newlywed couple returning from Europe got in on the act. As the troop prepared to pack it up for the day, they came up and asked if they would do one last welcome party for the young lovers. Freaking hilarious.

Gah, I love Fodor's. And now I love ImprovEverywhere, too. Happy Thursday! One more to go, if you have a normal week. Or, if you're me, you'll be working on Saturday night, too. :( I need to find more funny vids to help soften that blow...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There will ONLY be one.

Twilight post, that is. Unless something else comes up that compels me to write.

I'm still kinda in the closet about my fascination with the teenybopper series, so I will make this short and sweet. Besides, Southern Soap Opera has this covered for all of us...

I read the first three books of the series after hearing a piece on Meyer on NPR talking about Twilight and her adult sci-fi book, The Host, that was released over the summer. See?! Hearing about Meyer on NPR makes it better. Orrr not. But regardless of how I got started, I did - and I am not the only fanatic over the age of 15. Twilight has become a phenomenon of pop culture, and it's worthy of the notice.

I picked up Twilight on my way to the West Coast for a two week vacation this summer and finished New Moon and Eclipse at airport gates, on lake shores and in rental houses before the trip was over.

I loved the dark, rainy Forks atmosphere (and that I could actually picture the scene as we've taken many a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC), I loved the whole normal girl being more incredible and talented than she gave herself credit for and I loved the message that (Mormon) Meyer sent to her actual demographic that you don't have to um, hurry, love. And the boys were cute. Hot vampires and werewolves...... (NERD ALERT! gah, I amaze myself sometimes.)

Not only does NPR agree, but Vanity Fair does too! Hooray -
"...the undisputed golden calf of the vampire cotillion is Stephenie Meyer’s “The Twilight Saga,” a blockbuster bloodsucker series that has helped fill the yearning void left by the boarding up of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter wizard shop. Commercially, “The Twilight Saga” has given book publishing a blood transfusion, with sales topping seven million copies worldwide; it’s also a global sensation, translated into 20 languages. The physical properties of the books themselves may explain their popularity. They’re thick, chunky, promising a fat read—you don’t so much curl up with them as gulp them down."
Still not getting the draw? Here's more of the article. And photos of the beautiful people acting in the movie. That
last part should help the few remaining detractors...
So, it's not just me, then. It's Vanity Fair. And NPR. And all of the morning news shows by now, I'm sure. And Katie. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

My first press conference.

So, this morning was the big press conference for my involuntary (kidding... sort of) volunteer PR gig at Santaland.

Now, this is not my first crack at media relations. My first crack at media relations was a failed media day attempt at my job that actually pays. So, naturally, when I was approached to wrangle local media to meet with Santa and find out more about the exciting new additions to the event in 2008, I was a bit hesitant. I mean, really - convince the people that won't come tour a brand spanking new, hi-tech genomic research facility that has the potential to employ hundreds of local residents that they need to chat it up with Santa and write about it?!

But, as I am tied to the museum who puts on Santafest both emotionally and relationally - and because I realize that I am not quite a seasoned PR pro yet, and that any experience could benefit my PR repertoire, I said yes.

And so ensued the emailing and emailing and emailing... and calling and calling. And the dropping off of battery-operated christmas light-lit wreaths with "Santa's Magic 3-D Glasses" so that reporters could get a taste of what the big event would be like, pre-conference.

And the brushing off. And the vague answers of "we might send someone by... when was that again" and "I don't usually cover that sort of thing". And I prepared for another no-show event like the one I have already repressed.

Happily, people did come! This was the most attended press conference they have had to date, apparently.

So it was a win-win for everyone involved. I made some additional media contacts, healed some old media-related wounds and gained a lot of experience in press conference organizing. And Santa-rama got radio, t.v. and print news attendance - and (yay!) a confirmed story in tomorrow's paper.

My takeaways from the event:

  • For "fun-filled community events for the whole family" like this one, overload on the cute. Message the events as an opportunity to meet (insert VIP here - Santa, the Easter Bunny, Ben Franklin?!) and ask questions.
  • Local media in a small- to medium-sized town will cover a kid hugging a life sized gingerbread cookie character with local community leaders looking on, smiling, before they will cover actual news.
  • People love their local radio personalities. If you can get your sponsoring radio station to send their jocks out, people will come.
  • Always. Have. Food. I'm not sure if this actually attracted people, but I did slide in my (multiple) invitations that there would be food. I'm betting it did. That would help sell it for me...
  • Press kits might actually still have some benefit. I hand delivered those Christmas-ey wreaths and information and people really seemed to like them.
  • I have a very low tolerance for cute.
  • I am so happy the weekend is here.
So, that was that! Mission accomplished! My volunteer gig has readied me to get back on that media event bicycle in my own place of employment. I just need to make sure I can get my new friend Santa to come to work next time we have the next one. A person in a penguin suit wouldn't hurt, either...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wanna work for Obama?

Better not have a blog, have ever written in a diary, have any questionable material on your Facebook account, have a spouse or significant other who lobbies or works for Fannie, Freddie, AIG or any company involved in the recent bailout...

While the first bit is common practice throughout the entire work world now, something makes me think President-Elect Obama's vetting process might be a tad more scrutinous.

Check out this NYT article outlining the changes Obama has made to the Presidential hiring process. (login required).

My personal favorite?
Under “Domestic Help,” the questionnaire asks the immigration status of applicants’ housekeepers, nannies, chauffeurs and yard-workers, and whether applicants have paid the required taxes for household employees.
Welcome to the new age of politics. I'm so glad that my help is all documented and accounted for.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yes we can?

Ladies and gentlemen... aren't we elated that now Obama has been elected, all of our problems are solved?! Friend Cass directed my attention to this at another favorite blog of mine, Eavesdrop DC, where you KNOW there's going to be a ton of hilarious political musings overheard on various public buses and trains and government agency cafeterias and cubicles.
Overheard while transferring from ridiculously crowded Red Line train to ridiculously crowded Yellow Line train at China Town -

Woman One: Dammmnnn girl! This Metro so damn c-rowded

Woman Two: Shit yeah. Too many people here.

Woman One: Don’t worry, Obama gonna take care of that.
So, good thing we don't have to worry about those crowded metro stops anymore, right?

In other, slightly related news (and in case you were wondering...)-

A friend on Twitter recently asked "Whenever I speak to a black person, I feel the urge to congratulate them. Is that wrong?"

Survey says - ummyeah. It is on the list of things white people shouldn't do now that Obama's been elected. In the spirit of fairness and equality, however, there is also a list of things black people shouldn't do.

No we can't, white folks
Now that Obama has won, here are three things white people shouldn't do

My personal favorite here is
"Don't personally congratulate all your black friends. Black people are not a sports team, and Obama did not win the Super Bowl."
No we can't, black folks
Our man is going to the White House. Now here are five things black people shouldn't do.

"Do not promise to name your first child after Barack Obama. We've come far, but Barack Obama Jackson does not have as much of a ring to it as you think."
And finally, to end this post on a conciliatory note - check out From 52 to 48 with Love - a collection of photos and notes sent in by readers with the message that whomever you voted for, we are all Americans, and the only way this nation is going to get back on the right path is if we all work together.

Cheesy? Yes. But call me cheesy, because I believe this stuff and a lot of those notes and pictures really spoke to me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Unfinished business...

What an election. Now that it's over It's nice to give my overworked brain a rest and return to some less pressing subjects that I left on the back burner during the home stretch.

I really want to write some kind of astute wrap up of the election. But everyone knows how impossible it is to be insightful when you're trying. So I'll let that be until it comes to me, and share the things I dropped for now...

Simon. I saw this cat at one of those Petsmart weekend adoption events a couple of weeks ago and haven't been able to get him out of my head since. I even went so far as to look him up and "casually" email his caregiver to inquire as to whether he found a home. He hadn't. So, I was to talk to J about a fixed, grown up, litter-trained, up-to-date-on-shots, sweet and delightful (as Melissa, his foster mother said in the email) cat. Luckily for J, Simon was adopted. I hope he found as nice a home as mine would have been. Please remind me never to go to Petsmart on the weekend.

Couch. Our current one is a slipcovered hand me down with smushed padding and all around rather uncomfortable. I found this ridiculous one at a thrift store for $100 bucks. Velour with green and mustard stripes - it must have been someone's granny's because it looks ancient, but mysteriously in immaculate shape. Pretty retro fabulous in the right room. Just not sure if my living room is the right room... any interior decorators out there, amateur or otherwise?

Lady rappers. They no longer exist. What happened to them? Minus M.I.A. who's more trippy than rap-py in my opinion, where did they all go? I'm not huge on lady rappers, but I am disturbed by their disappearance. Without them, all hip hop/R&B has in the way of female representation is Mary J. Blige, Beyonce and those unnamed girls that sing the hooks in all of the male rappers' tracks. (Ha, I just said "tracks".)

I miss Missy. Come back Missy - we need another "Work It". Like, yesterday.

Twilight. The movie is coming out soon. Loved the books. Again, Katie is the better one to discuss this in depth, partially because i'm semi-ashamed of my fixation. But STILL. Three weeks until the movie of the book that consumed my West Coast trip this summer. Yay Forks!

I'm so glad I finally have a chance to hash out the other pertinent details in my life now that the election is over... Oh, who the h am i kidding?! I need some more big news. Anyone... Bueller.... Bueller?

Monday, November 3, 2008


Poor, poor Sarah. Might I also mention that this NYT Politics Blog post had one of the funnier headlines I've read all year -
Comment On Dit, "Prank Call"?

OCALA, Fla. – Gov. Sarah Palin has been punk’d.

A pair of Canadian comedians, notorious for pranking politicians and heads of state, reached Ms. Palin on Saturday and pretended to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

According to an audio recording, a press aide handed the phone to Ms. Palin, who enthusiastically greeted the fake Sarkozy, “It’s so good to hear you, thank you for calling us.” She added, “We have such great respect for you, John McCain and I. We love you!”

Speaking in an exaggerated French accent, the fake Sarkozy asked Ms. Palin about the state of the race, dropped names of nonexistent Canadian officials, frequently interrupted her mid-sentence and told her he saw her as president one day.

“Maybe in eight years,” Ms. Palin said.

The duo, Sebastien Trudel and Marc-Antoine Audette, have pulled similar pranks on Mick Jagger, Bill Gates and French president Jacques Chirac.

At one point, he said that he shared her interest in hunting.

“Oh, very good, we should go hunting together,” Ms. Palin said.

He replied: “I just love killing those animals. Taking away life, that is so fun!”

She laughed politely.

He added: “As long as we don’t bring Vice President Cheney.”

More laughter from Ms. Palin. “No, I’ll be a careful shot,” she promised.

The call ended after about six minutes, when the host informed Ms. Palin that she had been pranked.

“Oh, have we been pranked?” Ms. Palin said. “What radio station is this?”

Tracey Schmitt, Ms. Palin’s spokeswoman, said in a statement: “Governor Palin received a phone call on Saturday from a French Canadian talk show host claiming to be French President Nicholas Sarkozy. Governor Palin was mildly amused to learn that she had joined the ranks of heads of state, including President Sarkozy, and other celebrities in being targeted by these pranksters. C’est la vie.”

At least it wasn't just her - they pranked Sarkozy, too. And points for the "mildly amused" and "C'est la vie" comments. Someone in her camp must be pretty witty...

Listen to the full audio here