Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Foray into US Culture: Recycling ... and Marketing Recycling

[One in the Series: Forays in US Culture...]

A winding and varied career path eventually paid me well to work in corporate 'Internet marketing and communication'.
I was not responsible, thank the gods, for coming up with hard-core "messaging" - capitalism's lingua franca that persuades shoppers, voters, fashionistas, lovers, etc., to shut down their critical thinking faculties and open up their wallets to keep up with The Joneses.

I was glad to be a paid member of a media team for I found marketing and communication presented me key insights into our dominant culture, how it functions, who keeps it going, how, and why. The point at which it rankled, indeed the point at which I departed the team,  was when I was tasked with white- and green-washing corporate ideology.
Whether team members notice it or not, sooner or later, this point always comes in this line of work. For the essential driver of this work is having fun finding catchy new ways of persuading people to spend money and ensure corporate/corporate-like capital accumulates - not only regardless of consequences but, most importantly, not asking about potentially devastating consequences.
Only recently has a small segment of the shopping public begun to acknowledge the consequences of shop- 'til-you-drop: garbage dumps that have grown so unwieldy that America gifts developing countries with its waste; the swirling, unbounded Great Pacific Garbage Patch; and landfills that evolve into residential neighborhoods in the US and around the world.
Anyway, let me cut short a long polemic on capitalism and say: Yes, mea culpa: I am one of a shrinking group who believes, as the Beatles put it, "money can't buy me love"...nor can money persuade me to spread the ubiquitous, usually corporate but not only corporate lies that go into toxifying land, water, air, or people. Read what I mean here.
I fail to see how the complex system that is core to capitalism's wealth extraction and accumulation can continue to savage the planet with impunity. Nor do I see happy-ever-after looming on the horizon.
Happily, though, I see a group of people who, not only do not share my doom-and-gloom perspective but find ways nicely to use capitalism's messaging tools and coax into bloom alternatives from capitalism's stagnant waters....


Fact 1: I'm using an old toothbrush whose bristles are distorted and scratch my gums so they hurt, and sometimes bleed. (Yes, I do have an electric toothbrush. It is battery operated and opens up a line for future inquiry: how to dispose, benignly, of AA batteries.)
Fact 2: I need a new toothbrush.
Fact 3: I loathe shopping (the avid and avaricious buying "look," choosing one thing from an  overwhelming glut, trying it on, bringing it home, grrrrr....)
            Buy online, you say? Here's an example of that enterprise:
NiceTouch Disposable Toothbrushes. Smooth head has 38 tufts of soft, end-rounded nylon bristles. Brushes come without mint paste. 144 cello-wrapped brushes per box.
Cost? $45.99 plus tax, plus shipping plus the cost of a storage unit to keep them until I use them all up or I die of old age, whichever comes first.
Fact 4: I put off and put off and put off the quick trip to a local store to buy a new toothbrush.
Fact 5: I shop for groceries (mostly) at Trader Joe's.

I am wandering the aisles in Trader Joe's seeking hummus and figs and European Bread and Greek yogurt...when I remember my sore gums and head for the small shelf selling "personal products".
Now, clearly, someone as sensitive to messaging as I am must apply some sort of scale to judge Promo-speak for the moments I fall prey to the cultural imperative to shop 'til I drop. My scale ranges from soft-core=benign but present, to hard-core= subterfuge, outright lying, distortion of facts.
Happily, I find TJ's toothbrush Promo-speak is soft-core...probably because TJ's carries only one line of toothbrush - and that line promotes recycling. This means it comes with a built-in pious-o-meter: I recycle therefore I am (good, brave, trendy, forward thinking, beautiful, smart, liberal, _________ [fill in the blank]).
Moreover, not only is there no toothbrush brand competition, TJ's line is politically correct, environmentally friendly, and  ...
Made with love &
yogurt cups

While it sells for close to $3 - more than double my ideal toothbrush 'spend', and given the givens (my lack of enthusiasm for shopping; that I am already shopping; the symmetry of purchasing yogurt in a yogurt cup and a toothbrush made from recycled yogurt cups, not to mention a 'dentist designed grip' ) - I purchase one.
It is green - as shown on the packaging, above, and the promo goes like this (from the front -image on the left - to the back - image on the right): 

gimme5 [logo] makes it
to recycle

Smile Brightly

Tiered bristles and dentist designed grip for cleaner teeth.
Mail Back Pack makes recycling easy.

gimme5 is our recycling community
We turn your used #5 plastic products
and packing into new products.
Recycle two just like this:
[illustration of two spooning toothbrushes]

[How to recycle your toothbrush]
1. Enter your rewards code at mygimme5.com
[the code in the small grey box]
2. When you're ready to recycle, print the postage paid label and tape it to this package.
3. Get surprises like a Preserve food storage container.

Launch a Bottleship
Give your recycling a boost
Send back 6 in a plastic bottle
Visit mygimme5.com to learn more.
[editorial comment: See, this is why marketing is fun...the folks thinking up this gimmick had a good laugh at the Launch a Bottleship pun-of-sorts, and fun in the workplace keeps workers content and coming back for more. Does the top recycler gets a Bottleship named after her/himself? S/he should.]

Nit pickin'
Nit pick 1: Packaging  explains that "gimme5 is our recycling community" and urges the new user to "Enter your rewards code at mygimme5.com". Linking to gimme5.com, however, lands the user on a site that is not gimme5.com. Rather, gimme5.com calls up a bland page that suggests a domain name squatter owns "gimme5.com" (and may be experimenting with "recycling" of her/his own: recycling dollars from gimme5.com's pocket into the pocket of the farsighted person who registered the domain name first and will happily squat on it for as long it it takes).
Nit pick 2: The route to gimme5.com's website is circuitous. 1) the user keys in "mygimme5.com" but lands on Preserve's gimme5 program: "good deeds yield many great returns".
Nit pick 3: gimme5.com displays the de rigeur happy, wholesome, and healthy blond all-'merikan gal wearing a t-shirt and recycling logo.
Nit pick 4: Clicking on any link on the mygimme5.com page lands the user onto  preserveproducts.com: "Nothing wasted. Everything gained." Yet Preserve products does not recycle. 
Nit pick 5: In order to fulfill the promise inherent in my toothbrush I must:
1) join mygimme5.com - or at least enter my rewards code, share my contact info, and be open to receiving more promo material
2) hold onto my toothbrush packaging so that I can mail in this toothbrush and the next one ("Recycle two just like this")
3: not only hold on to 2 toothbrushes to mail but, if I want to reap the reward of launching a Bottleship I must hold on to 6 more used toothbrushes and a plastic bottle to mail. 

Oh, the tangled (world wide) web we weave....

Despite my Nit pickin', I do appreciate that happy, wholesome, healthy, and blond all-'merikan youth still have the entrepreneurial spirit...and that this business model builds in the ability to hold-your-head-up-high (by buying and recycling as opposed to the hang-your-head-in-shame-if-you-understand-the-business-model of traditional corporations like Chevron, etc). Recycling businesses allow entrepreneurs to generate profit from scratching at small corners of the overwhelming pile of plastic trash drowning our planet.
Good on ya, kids.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mallards as Metaphor – Or, Life’s Paradoxes

[One in the Series: Forays in US Culture...]

At Oakland’s 5th Avenue Marina, observant "live-aboards" – the hearty folks who live on sailboats - refer to mallard drakes as “rapists”. Now, before tut-tutting that a bunch of know-nothing-no-money-no-social-power folks who can’t –or won’t - pay rent or mortgage for a “real” place are trivializing a serious crime, let me explain.

Like all hierarchical systems, duck communities have a pecking order with - no surprise – males in the top spots. Even to a non-avian observer, mallard drakes appear to take their top-spot privileges seriously - and insist on underlings taking it even more seriously than they do. So, for example, females and young males must walk or paddle one-drake-length behind the big duck tail; an underling must submit absolutely to harassment dished out by higher ups. Underlings flouting the hierarchy are terrorized back into line, either by a single male acting alone…or by a gang of males acting with one mind -- the mafia equivalent of the Anas platyrhynchos [wild duck] realm.

Enforcing mallard privilege is particularly important during the spring when drakes are burdened with the responsibility of perpetuating their kind. Any female, including one already nesting or caring for young, is up for grabs. Being airborne is no guarantee of safety since it is not uncommon for four or five drakes to accost hens in aerial maneuvers that give new meaning to “sky jacking”.  I have witnessed the mallard mafia attempt aerial copulation but, so far, I’ve not seen even the most robust coalition of this willing succeed at aerial invasion. Anyway, males don’t need acrobatic skill for females in flight eventually tire. Upon landing, the female is forced into a cluster-fuck of feather-flying brutality…with loud quacks of male delight encouraging other males to join in, too. 

Afterwards, the female staggers momentarily then fluffs her feathers, holds her beaks high…and re-joins the flock – as if nothing untoward just happened.
I was outraged when first introduced to mallard duck lore and facts on the ground. Why do females not fight back, protest, do something about their mistreatment?
Indeed, I was merely flailing at the surface of deep, dark life and times.

Picture this: a mallard female sits on a clutch of eight eggs – and I mean sit: she’s a good girl who follows duck directive and takes seriously the job of nurturing the next generation. She never complains, neither of injustice and unfairness nor of having no mate to relieve her vigil. She frets every time she leaves the nest for food and water as it means leaving her precious eggs exposed to predators … rats… gulls… night herons… falcons…even snakes – the possibilities for mayhem make her feathers flutter.
The one good thing about sitting on a clutch is that she’s out of the males’ firing line – if they can’t see her they can’t pick on her….

After a 30-day gestation, all eight eggs hatch. She’s as proud as any new mother. Her progeny are special… beautiful…and talented: they take to the water almost immediately… although they cannot fly for another 60 days. She can’t wait to show them off to the duck community….
She waddles down the dock with eight squeakers following. Suddenly, the gulls overhead spot the possibilities…and dive in for a tasty morsel. The alert mother quacks a warning and the eight apples-of-her-eye scurry under her wings in time to avert a tragedy. Then a mallard drake spots her…. Despite her squawks warning him of the dangers to the gene pool he forces her to copulate; the little ones run around squeaking, crying, and looking for safety.
The ruckus alerts other ducks and drakes and they crowd around and comment…or get in on the attack.
The gulls see an advantage and swoop down….
When the gangbang is over, the mother staggers and gathers her squawking young from around the dock and in the water; some are missing. She finds five – and is relieved that the survivors, while clearly rattled, are alive.
Repeat this scenario several times a day for three days.
Then, find the mother protecting one duckling. But one is better than none and, despite ongoing harassment, it’s easier to protect just one. If the lone survivor seems disoriented by the trials and tribulations of his life so far, he is alive and … alright. A mother can’t ask for more than that…can she?
One mother, one duckling - two survivors!
[BTW, for all you birders out there:
"According to serious 'birders' "mallards frequently interbreed with their closest relatives in the genus Anas and with species more distantly related (e.g., the northern pintail) leading to various hybrids that may be fully fertile. This is quite unusual among different species and may be as a result of the mallard evolving  very rapidly and recently (during the Late Pleistocene). Mallards and their domesticated conspecifics are also fully interfertile."]
This is why this female does not look exactly like your picture perfect mallard hen. She's a product of "mallard evolution" and "interfertility". Gangbanging by any other name....
Photo: Susan Galleymore (2014)
As a non-feathered female brought up on bits and pieces of feminism (particularly the egosyntonic bits) I am outraged that female mallards must live in an environment that offers no recourse to courts, legal system, or sisters'/feathered friends’ support.
It does something to a person when confronted with such injustice. For example, sometimes hens seek protection from drakes by inserting themselves between the legs of empathetic 5th Avenue Marina live-aboards. The humans respond by kicking away the aggressive drakes. 

Truthfully, I am horrified - and puzzled - at the pleasure I get from this view of payback. It is egodystonic and that makes me very ...uncomfortable....

All this … primitive behavior… violence… lack of justice… enrages.  
If lower order ducks refuse to see the value of “the other” within their own genus, how, oh how, can we expect higher order people to treat one another any better?
How will the planet and its people, creatures, and plants survive?
Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Forays into US Culture: Chick-fil-A's "eat the other guy" message

In San Francisco Bay Area the Chick-fil-A eateries circle the outer rims of the bay but do not enter. The closest Chick-fil-A eateries are in San Jose (3 of 'em); Fairfield - home of Travis Air Force Base - has more than one.
Only guessing here...but the lack of Chick-fil-A stores in the inner bay could be due to the controversy stirred up by Chick-fil-A President and CEO Dan Cathy's narrow-minded and homophobic comments over marriage equality. (HuffPo quotes Cathy on how he has grown since that Time of Great Awakening, “Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by (recognizing) the mistakes that you make....And you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it."
Hooray! Good on 'ya, Dan. Note to Dan: that should be true of everyone, not just "every leader." Let me digress a little further before getting back onto what is the point of this post. Perhaps Chick-fil-A's management understands how thoroughly it ... cooked...its 'er...goose... in the gay-positive SF Bay Area and that any attempt to insert a chicken outpost here will be met with great popular opposition.)

With little access to Chick-fil-A eateries in and around the San Francisco Bay Area I took myself off to the Houston Bay Area to explore Chick-fil-A.
This particular Chick-fil-A is located, as are most businesses in Texas - at least businesses that do not own their own skyscraper - in an everyday-Texas flat-no-frills-no-visual-design-appeal mall along with a Super Target, a Home Depot, and an IHOP. It offers nothing that is not offered at any other Chick-fil-A in the country (and that's saying something about organizational regimentation for there are more than 1,800 Chick-fil-A locations in 39 states plus Washington, D.C. Annual sales in 2013? More than $5 billion).
I found a company with - to my quirky mind - brilliant branding campaigns and advertizing. I pondered, for some time, Chick-fil-A's branding and all-'merican message: eat the other guy! That's 'merica in a nutshell: "I'm alright, Jack...keep you hands off my stack". Not sure why Chick-fil-A has to position itself as ignorant, childlike, and a poor speller (or is it simply "child-positive"?) The Chick-fil-A clientele in the store  I visited near Houston was predominantly working-class. Is the underlying message that working stiffs feel at home in an establishment biased against sexual orientation and toward illiteracy? (something like: "Being publicly illiterate is okay but doing anything irregular with your genitals and your emotions in private is not okay.")
I think I find this branding fascinating partly because it is so politically incorrect ... certainly it flies in the face of what works in the SF Bay Area...it's kind of other worldly - just like Texas - and either doesn't know or doesn't care.
Fun logo....
Door to the "Playgrownd 4 Little Chickin Eatrz Onlee"
My favorite: The all-'merican steer, dressed for golf or BBQ, suggesting the hungry focus on 'the other guy' for better eatin'

Clean, good typography, nice pix...
Ditto... good advertizing no sociopolitical proselytizing other than the all-'merican message to eat the other!
 Company facts:
  • Chick-fil-A is privately held and family owned.
  • It all started in 1946, when Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant, Dwarf Grill, in Hapeville, Georgia. 
  • The first Chick-fil-A Restaurant opened at a mall in suburban Atlanta in 1967.

Check out other entries in the series, Forays into US Culture....

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Foray into US Culture: Rush on Robin

Characteristics of the 'Leftist Attitude' as defined by Rush Limbaugh after the death of Robin Williams:
  • darkness
  • sadness
  • pessimism
  • they're never happy
  • always angry about something - no matter what they get they're always angry
  • Robin Williams made everybody else laugh but he was miserable inside
  • it fits a certain picture...a certain image that the left has...
 This from ol' happy-go-lucky, oxy-poppin' Rush.... Must feel so good that he has the answer to what makes (other) people tick; eh?

Let's see ol' Rush reach the public in a way that comes even close to Robin Williams - not to mention George Carlin. Check it out - Robin and George on...golf

Check out other entries in the new series, Forays into US Culture
Foray into UC Culture: Rush on Robin
Foray into US Culture: Hillary Clinton, "It Takes a Pillage to Raze a Child..."
Forays into US Culture: Relax in a Hurry
Forays into US Culture: Downloadable Books...and Other Dystopias
Foray into US Culture: Manicured Faux

Forays into US Culture: Hillary Clinton, "It Takes a Pillage to Raze a Child..."

Sorry to stereotype but... I lump together women like Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Dianne Feinstein and that ilk of politician as doing enormous psychic damage to reg'lar women.
IMO, these 'gals' have more in common with White Man Culture than they do with any flavor of woman culture; indeed, if anything, they act as if they must Out-White-Guy the White Guys to be anything/anyone. Evolving and growing into a universally empathetic woman is like ... being a pussy! And who needs that?

Madeline Albright
60 Minutes anchor Lesley Stahl, interviewing then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, said, "We have heard that a half a million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And - you know, is the price worth it?"
MA: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."
[Editorial comment 1: first, these days, not a single mainstream reporter would ask Lesley Stahl's too-direct question: it gives a momentary discomfort to a public figure and, put simply, that is not allowed.
Editorial comment 2: Few reporters know much about history; few know much about, or want to critique, the US dropping the bomb on civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki...and, of those that do, how they 'position' questions about this history is paramount; I would not be surprised to learn that Stahl's boss remarked on the starkness of her statement about Hiroshima - her "lack of 'sensitivity' or some such...
Editorial comment 3: who, you may wonder, is MA speaking for when she uses the universal "we"? She's speaking for people like herself, the class that she represents, and her sponsors. Think of her "we" as more of a "wheeee!"]

"On primary election day 2008 in Pennsylvania, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated that, if elected president, she would respond to a nuclear attack by Iran (a country that does not have nuclear weapons) on Israel (which does) with a promise to "totally obliterate them," ("them" includes Iranian civilians). [Long Time Passing, p 236.]
[Editorial comment 1: Indeed, it takes a pillage to raze a child....]
"As a candidate for President, HC...stated in a stump speech in March 2008, "We have given [Iraqis] the precious gift of freedom and it is up to them to decide how to use it." [Reporter Nir Rosen countered: "there's freedom to kill, there's freedom for militia." Long Time Passing, p 241.]
Editorial comment 2: translation from Hillary-ese: "I have been given the precious gift of freedom to insult the intelligent-but-powerless-because-not-rich with my BS and con the not-so-intelligent-flag-wavers with my take-no-prisoners-tough-itude."

Dianne Feinstein
Feinstein's husband, financier Richard Blum, controls Perini, a controversial company that scored big-time Iraq war money apparently due to Senator Dianne Feinstein's seat on the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. She steered a $650 million environmental cleanup deal to Perini. Blum also serves as a University of California Regent - and was chairman until 2009 - and is Chairman and President of Blum Capital, big in providing - and thriving on - student loans.

Visuals of Hirrily, "it takes a pillage" Clinton:
Inauguration of an Unprepossessing Bunch.
Don't Bill 'n Hirrily look like they just fell off a turnip truck?
[The Gores and Clintons on their arrival for the first inauguration. Jan. 17, 1993. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)]

An admirable effort to humanize the Clintons (but dehumanize muppets!)
[The Clintons pose with the cast of Avenue Q. Dec. 27, 2003. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)]
The Many Faces of Hirrily.
Prezidential, ain't she?
[Google search results collage]

I guess Hirrily has as much of a chance of being anointed the first female president as money and a corrupt worldview can buy.
There's a lot more to write about "this ilk of politician as doing enormous psychic damage to reg'lar women....[and] these 'gals' have more in common with White Man Culture than they do with any flavor of woman culture; indeed, if anything, they act as if they must Out-White Guy the White Guys to be anything/anyone."
I'm working on that piece of serious writing....

Check out other entries in the new series, Forays into US Culture
Foray into UC Culture: Rush on Robin
Foray into US Culture: Hillary Clinton, "It Takes a Pillage to Raze a Child..."
Forays into US Culture: Relax in a Hurry
Forays into US Culture: Downloadable Books...and Other Dystopias
Foray into US Culture: Manicured Faux

Forays into US Culture: Relax in a Hurry

[The second in the new series: "Forays into US Culture".]

Love 'em or hate 'em, many of us wander and wait or hurry and dash through 'em at some point in our busy lives.
My most recent airport experience was of the wander and wait variety.
I ate lunch: 2 hard shell tacos with beef, refried beans and rice ($13.99 plus tax; at my favorite local taqueria a more flavorful version of the dish costs $4.99); and an "original" margarita ($9.99 plus tax).
Then, since it had been something of a difficult and emotionally draining trip, I enjoyed a second margarita as I talked to a friend on my phone.
After that, recognizing feelings of sadness, alienation, and emotional desperation bubbling just 'below the surface' and manifesting as resistance to cultural conformity, I trundled down the bustling corridors pulling my computer bag and applying a particularly critical lens to judge ' the airport context': "They" were obese, self-satisfied, had too much 'discretionary income/outgo' and not enough cultural and ethnic diversity; the inoffensive color, texture, aroma, and blandness of the surroundings were geared to keep folks moving, stopping only to spend, eat, and excrete.... I obsessed and projected my dissatisfaction into a catch-all "the state of the world"...and almost walked right into a target ripe for a blistering cultural critique, the...

Four-up! An anti-masseuse masseuse that avoids the human touch that is an integral part of massage. These chairs wiggle and jiggle and thrump and thump - just put in coins or card and own and control the entire experience. The massagee doesn't even have to talk or listen to an actual real live masseuse.
The public face of the money maker/money taker.
Slip in your card...

...or slip in your cash...
Smartecarte will
jiggle 'ya...
tickle 'ya...
and make 'ya feel ...
[All photos: Susan Galleymore]

Since I was traveling solo...and too margarita'd up to want to snap a 'selfie' -- or ask an anonymous passer-by to snap me -- as I lolled in one of the Massage Center's four chairs, I continued sipping my second 'original' margarita and contemplated the paraphernalia. 
Really, though, I hung around to people watch 'n provoke, curious about who might either 1) ask me to vacate my chair since, clearly, I was not partaking of a $5.00 wiggle, jiggle, or tickle or 2) treat themselves - or significant others - to wiggles, jiggles, and tickles.
Despite 35 years living in America and struggling against its No. 1 Cultural Imperative -- "getting and spending" -- my naivete is, apparently, still such that I was sure even 'reg'lar' Americans would see through the wallet pillage and 'stupid public' attitude inherent in Relax in a Hurry.  But, no; while no line of stressed travelers actually formed, the three unoccupied chairs were quickly filled with paying 'n partaking massagees!
The man in the chair next to me inserted real cash - several times; the couple behind inserted the man's credit card and indulged in two faux massage sessions each!
It took an effort to keep visual tabs on the couple behind me without drawing attention so I opted for curious nonchalance and glanced over at the fellow next to me. Eyes closed, his body wiggled and jiggled as a mechanical wave rippled just under the surface of his chair. (I realized that I'd recently undergone a similar though unasked-for 'treat' at an overpriced hair salon: asynchronous bobbles poke and prod and wave and wander with mechanical vehemence until the off  button pops "off" - then ... everything stops...your treat is over until popped "on" with more money.) He was enjoying himself and his massage - albeit in a hurry; he was enjoying himself more than I was enjoying myself fretting about 'the state of the world.'
Yes, but....

Ritter Sport chocolate costs $1.99 at Trader Joe's; at the airport it costs $4.99.
Toblerone chocolate costs $1.99 at Trader Joe's; at the airport it costs $4.99.
When I laughingly commented on the inflated costs of chocolates at an airport - a sprawling entity that specializes in transporting goods and people - a nearby man explained, "the airport must make its profit."
Well, why must the airport make its profit? Why can't it be satisfied with breaking even and keeping things proportioned for reg'lar human beings: decent and fair salaries across the board, health insurance to all workers, ergonomic seating for long trips, and so on?
And why must something that gives humans the wrong impression about what it means to be human - Relax in a Hurry - make a profit?
Why is "profit" America's True God?
I repeat that trite and overused aphorism: hey, it is what it is.
Know what? Aphorism's don't cut it.
Profit might be what profit is but that doesn't make profit conducive to human good health and vitality.

By the way, in general, I am uninterested in developing my innate entrepreneurial profit-generating skills but, having discovered just how fast profit-seeking entrepreneurs steal ideas, take heed: I already patented the great profit-making idea I'm about to share; pay me Yankee dollahs and you can implement my great idea and tell friends you dreamed it up. Here it is: create teams of real live masseuses and masseurs, force each to purchase a branded massage chair from you - at a good markup, then send the teams into airports across the country to provide massage services to a deserving public; you take 70 percentage of their take - after all, you came up with the idea and the hard work. It's a great idea - as George Zimmer of the Men's Warehouse would say, "I guarantee it!"
ha ha!

Foray into UC Culture: Rush on Robin
Foray into US Culture: Hillary Clinton, "It Takes a Pillage to Raze a Child..."
Forays into US Culture: Relax in a Hurry
Forays into US Culture: Downloadable Books...and Other Dystopias
Foray into US Culture: Manicured Faux

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tom Tomorrow - he's got Obama's number...

Perfect Obama-ese:
We must accept responsibility! Which is to say, we must briefly acknowledge the unpleasantness in the upcoming torture report...and then quickly move on. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Forays into US Culture: Downloadable Books...and Other Dystopias

[Introducing a new writing series: "Forays into US Culture".]

I am a diehard reader of books - the bulky sort that don't glow in the dark and are uncomfortable to read in bed and on public transportation, the sort that offer sensory pleasures: smell, feel, texture, visual design and typographic feastings.
I own a Kindle but, until recently, I have avoided reading books on it. Then, I needed an out-of-print book to complete some research and I experienced the ...pleasure ... of the quick and easy Kindle download. Despite evolving into a skeptical human no longer seduced by "quick" nor "easy" I purchased this Kindle edition. (After I found it was the summary, Cliff Notes edition and not the full edition I returned it - a relatively quick and easy process, too.)
Given the almost magical and instantaneous convenience of downloading, I WISH the experience of reading online editions was...deeper and more satisfying; if only it offered greater physical, psychological, and emotion pleasure. Sure, tablets are slim, easy to carry and store, ergonomically engineered ...they offer the social comfort of de rigeur hip-ness and "correct" social signals ....but they do not offer the je ne said quoi of an old fashion, solid book one picks up, reads, puts back on the library shelf, and maintains an ongoing relationship with, albeit intermittent.
Then again, books in general offer more ...disappointment ...these days.
Take, for example, my last two air trips. While a solid search in the airport bookstore turned up a good book each time I needed one to gloss over the boredom of air travel, the majority of reading matter for sale in airport stores falls into limited genres: self help; get rich/successful/beautiful quick; and 'be afraid, be very afraid'.
Is this a case of sour grapes and I am carping because no airport bookstore would ever carry my book, Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak about War and Terror?
Could be. Perhaps I'm just a mean spirited woman full of envy who'd love to have a shot at experiencing my own form of avarice, power, and narcissism.
Then again, maybe I'm just realistic. For my book shares the personal, painful stories of people, not only but predominantly women and mothers, who suffer in war.  It offers no shortcuts to wealth, instrumental intelligence, or advice about getting ahead or holding on to "your man" or becoming "a financially independent woman." Nor is it the sort of 'be afraid, be very afraid' genre that Americans want to face or even think about: how vulnerable each of us is and how vulnerable our families could be because of the policies practiced in our country by powerful people who've never had to struggle for anything in their lives that a feel good self-help book couldn't 'fix' in a few minutes of scanning.

Below is a photographic selection of print matter for sale at airport bookstores in the US...and the persuasive marketing that accompanies the journey from airport shelf, through your wallet, onto your lap as you chew airline peanuts and pretzels, then, as you prepare to land, into a large plastic garbage bags borne down the aisle by a steward to collect travel debris.

Fewer, Bigger, Bolder  "...faculty members advise mindful growth on the path to enlightened profitability."

Never Be Closing: How to Sell Better Without Screwing Your Clients, Your Colleagues, or Yourself
Everyone knows that the first rule of sales is “always be closing.” But what if the less time you spend trying to close, the more time you can devote to helping people solve problems and seize opportunities? And what if following the new rule of sales, “always be useful,” results in more business?

Foreign Policy journal: "America ...is in Decline...in Crisis..."

Positive Intelligence" is the practice of achieving stress-free peak performance and is scientifically proven to be the greatest predictor of achievement."

Walk Away Wealthy: The Entrepreneur's Exit-Planning Playbook. "The essential guide to selling your business--and walking away with maximum wealth."

Dream Year: Make the Leap from a Job You Hate to a Life You Love
“Some people are content to help fulfill the dreams of their employers. But my guess is you’re not one of them. You were born with a dream of your own. And this year, you’re doing something about it.”

The Mobile Mind Shift : "...the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need" 

Support and Defend by Tom Clancy;
Mastering the Complex Sale
- "How to Compete and Win When the Stakes are High! Set Yourself Apart – Become a Valued Resource."

SUCCESS magazine - cover
"Jimmy Kimmel "The surprising fear that drives the famous funnyman"
"8 Ways to Live a More Joyful Life"
"Secrets of Teams that WIN"
"What does your business card say about you?"
"Positive Leadership: 7 Pages of Best Practices"

Assorted magazine covers: 
Kim Kardashian "Raising My Princess" and "Kim's Fake Marriage EXPOSED!"
"Mila's Dramatic Delivery"
Cosmo's "Best Sex Ever"

(All photos by Susan Galleymore)

What can I say other than, "Yikes!" 

Check out other entries in the new series, Forays into US Culture
Foray into UC Culture: Rush on Robin
Foray into US Culture: Hillary Clinton, "It Takes a Pillage to Raze a Child..."
Forays into US Culture: Relax in a Hurry
Forays into US Culture: Downloadable Books...and Other Dystopias
Foray into US Culture: Manicured Faux