You wish you were Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen as he appears on the twitter

Admit it. You wish you were Charlie Sheen.

While you are shaking your head violently from side to side and stomping up and down disagreeing with me, just hear me out for a few seconds. Then you can go back to your ranting about why I am wrong, why Charlie is melting down, how he is bad for his kids, why he is anti-Semetic, a bad role model or any of the other pat sound bites the media are flinging around.

Ready? This stuff could be a bit deep. Or deep in it. I’m sure you’ll decide for yourself. **

Charlie admits his humanity. All of it. He says the “crazy” we think in our minds and acts on it.

Only this stuff isn’t so nutty. He is magic. He is a big star. He was born small and now he is huge. He has navigated the shark-infested waters of the entertainment industry and is smarter than most of the people he has come up against. He is special. He has a natural gift of poise and conversation. He got 1.2 million followers on Twitter before you even got out of bed this morning.

And he is not saying hateful things. He is just saying really, really brutally honest stuff. If we tag it as crazy then we can all feel better about ourselves. If we say he is crazy, we don’t have to deal with why we’re not living up to our potential. And if we go even further and start tearing him down, we’re morally superior.

He is getting away with all of this because he is operating within the bounds of the human condition. He knows down deep inside — way, way, way down deep inside of each of us — is a Charlie Sheen Dream that has been smashed down by years of following the rules and believing what others tell us about our inadequacies. There is always tomorrow. Next time. The next relationship.

Will you embrace your inner Charlie? Yeah, me neither. It’s too bright and scary out there.

You may now resume your lives. Or drop a comment below. Or unfollow me on twitter. Or unsubscribe from this blog. Whatever fills the ignored hole in your soul.

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** But I’m betting you won’t.

I was not going to write anything about Charlie Sheen. But then I got to thinking that Martin Sheen, his father, was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. By extension, we invented Charlie. So naturally — as is our way here — we needed to claim the good things this invention brings to the collection of humanity. Just like we do the Wright Brothers, we plant a flag in anything that gets famous and claim it for our own.

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Imagine this as the future of newspaper

Gatorade Control Center

I read yesterday’s Dayton Daily News today and they had a special section included. I don’t know where it is on their web site and I gave up trying to find it. I had hoped to point it to you as it is really cool stuff.

They have assembled all the COX Ohio Media in one facility and really decked it out with a bunch of studio space, digital equipment and tons of toys. I hope they give tours. But as I read the 10-page broadsheet-sized insert, I noticed a gaping hole in their media– no social media. Just newspaper, television and radio.

Oops. I hope that is just an oversight. If not, call me and let’s do business.

Here is what I think a newspaper/television/radio media company should do. Build out a social media center like they did at Gatorade (photo above) and staff it 24/7/365 with people authorized to reply back. Anytime anyone mentions Dayton on twitter, Facebook or blogs about Dayton, they know it. They know all the influential bloggers, the restaurant directories, the sporting events going on about town. They see tweets from people stuck on 35, wondering what the holdup is. They see a shout-out to a favorite restaurant or a blog post just published touting the really cool things about Dayton, Ohio. They see tweets from a frustrated bride three days from her wedding looking for a wedding photographer because the one she booked cancelled on her. They get behind movements to get Kroger to carry cheese curds.

And they would suggest advertisers quickly and authoritatively. And advertisers would get calls. And business.

And they see tweets when people are coming into Dayton for a family visit and welcome them back. They see birthdays on Facebook and send out tweets and updates wishing each a happy birthday. Maybe they even send out random cupcakes on that special day from a local bakery who advertises with Cox. In short, they act as the bar in the City Where Everybody Knows Your Name.

Can you imagine how many people Jeff Pulver would tell at his 140conf Conferences about the time he came to Dayton, Ohio to visit Hamvention and the local newspaper made sure his experience here was warm and inviting? That they tweeted him when he landed, asking if he needed a ride, maybe even tweeted his hotel to alert them he was in town? I wonder how many other people would like to visit Dayton, Ohio, just for the pampering experience?

You are a neighbor here in Dayton, Ohio, not just a resident. And in the process, we all connect just a little bit closer to each other and the outside world.

That is what I think a local newspaper can become. And for not a lot of money.

Postnote: 2011-02-21
Chris Brogan posted a video about the future of media. Here is one facet of my take on hyper-local.

Football’s “Big Game” ads

On Monday, every blogger will turn into a marketing expert and analyze the ads from The Big Game* fifteen different ways in hopes that you won’t realize they don’t know crap about marketing or advertising. Several of them will actually know what they are talking about, but those people will be so non-confrontational that you probably won’t read them anyway.

Over here at the DogWalkBlog, we’re going to stick with what we know; dogs and dog-related accessories. Our entire criteria on judging the effectiveness of any Big Game ad is whether or not they have a dog in them. Then, we will list them further on down this page and tell you why we think they were cool or lame.

Fair enough?

Good.

*Super Bowl is a trademark of the National Football League (NFL) and DogWalkBlog did not pay any money for the rights to use it. So, we’re saying “The Big Game” (until the NFL clamps down on that one as well)

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What Kenneth Cole knows that you don’t

Kenneth Cole

He knows that if you are one of the bloggers and tweeters who are all up in arms about his use of the #egypt hastag in his tweet yesterday, you’re probably not one of his customers.

Why?

Because you scream at having to put up $60.00 for a quality WordPress theme. Or balk at a $20/month membership fee for anything more than freemium. And you think Chris Brogan is a sell-out and you think that open source should mean even the support is free. He knows that you are a cheap-butt user who demands free software and unlimited support.

And he knows that you are not going to spend more than $28.88 for a pair of shoes.

He knows that you are really not his market. His market doesn’t really know what a hashtag is and doesn’t really care. What they know is fashion. And hashtags don’t even register on their radar.

Who are all these people climbing all over the Kenneth Cole Facebook page in a fever to comment about what a horrible thing he did? Haters. But they are not his customers.

And he knows the more he is hated by the commoners, the more his customers will want to be just like him.

That is what Kenneth Cole knows.

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Maddow Apostrophe-gate rages on unabated

Despite warnings from the Allied Association of Assorted Punctuation and the Apostrophe Association of America (the real AAA) when her first infraction was discovered on July 26, 2010, Rachel Maddow continues to flagrantly misuse the apostrophe in her on-air titles supporting The Rachel Maddow Show (or as she tries cleverly to disguise as TRMS)

A screen shot of yesterday’s show is below, this time with the ringleader at the desk:

The copyeditor used a single quote when s/he should have used an apostrophe. The part that was being contracted was the 19 from 1992. The infraction was also seen later in the subtitle that appeared under the segment. The entire segment was aired without correction.

Again, we demand an apology from TRMS and assurances that these infractions will cease. If credibility in typography use can not be assured, how can we trust any of the facts, analysis and conclusions being given on the entire show?

Again, Maddow, we’re waiting. And we’re not going to accept a contracted apology.

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The Ladders got a ‘makeover’ but didn’t need to

Something disturbs me greatly at a visceral level about the latest commercial from The Ladders.

In his latest email newsletter, Marc Cenedella, Founder & CEO (@cenedella) explained the commercials and the creative process behind it. I still didn’t buy it. It felt like someone handed me a dog turd and told me it was fine European chocolate.

And while you are chewing on that visual, watch the commercial.


View on YouTube | The rest

Really, I get it. Average-looking people with exceptional skills look fantastically sexy to quality employers. It’s a good concept and not one I’m going to argue with. But what I do have an issue with is how they are portrayed it in the video.

The premise The Ladders capitulated to is simple; eventually, everything comes down to sex. Period. Even job skills, brains, ability, aptitude and attitude. To be seen as qualified to do the job, you must also be seen as sexy.

That saddens me greatly.

How many qualified women have been hired based on their “skills” and years later found out it was because “she has a nice rack?” Or qualified men being hired because “he had a nice a**?” For someone who values skills, experience and smarts over looks, that is insulting.

I don’t know how else you could have depicted qualified candidates as attractive, but I know this visual is more insulting than complimentary. The Ladders went and gave itself a makeover, but didn’t need to. The quality employees and employers already found them more than attractive. For all the right reasons.

I’m not entirely sure who The Ladders hired to create and shoot the commercials, but perhaps they should have reached just a little further up the ladder for the better label. Perhaps they will next time around. They need to be what they sell.

*Yeah, I’m pretty hot-looking and I have a nice a**, so this isn’t sour grapes, just in case you want to snipe at me. If I wanted to get hired based on my looks, I’d aspire to be a model. I’d rather be seen as a talented writer and thinker; worth well over $100K. And I did get the the Nastassja Kinski cultural reference. Very clever, geeks are well-endowed, ok, subtle. Yes, that is sarcasm. Or is it?

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Mommy and daddybloggers, what’s your exit strategy?

I have two kids, 19 (girl) and 25 (boy). I blog, I tweet, I can make WordPress sing and I know all the ins and out of social media. I can cook, clean, iron a shirt or a pleated skirt and go bra shopping if called upon (not often these days, but earlier.) I have changed thousands of diapers, I have rocked each kid to sleep many, many times. I stayed up way past the point of tired to tell them stories. I have helped them through the frustration of homework and I have played in sandboxes. I have sat in emergency rooms in the wee hours of the morning and have held their hands during shots and stitches. I have held them through crying and anger after a breakup or a betrayal. And I have shared their happiness at making a team or singing on stage.

But I am not qualified to be a daddyblogger or contribute into the online dad community because I am too old. My kids are too old. “Parenting for dads has changed since you had kids,” they tell me. “Go away, old man, we don’t need your ideas. We’re the experts now.”

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Who are you and what do you want

While everyone seems to be writing a “Best of 2010” and “What to look forward to in 2011” post of some sort, I’m just going to ignore all that entirely and keep rolling forward on other stuff. The year-end, year-beginning is an artificial tear in time anyway and by the second week in January, New Year’s resolutions and predictions will be a distant memory of auld lang syne. I like more sustainable posts.

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Don’t forget to SELL the ham

Listen to the automated attendant you get when you call a Honey Baked Ham store.

I may be just a consumer and not a marketing genius, but I’m thinking Option #1 should be:

“If you’d like to buy a damn ham, press 1”

In your zeal to tell your customers everything you can do for them and be everything they expect, don’t forget to sell the ham!

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Local is everything

My favorite comedian is Ron White and not because he is the funniest guy around, but because he hands me lines like “You can’t fix stupid” and “I told you that story to tell you this…” among others. Try them out in conversation; they work.

Anyway, during one of his rants on stage where he drinks, smokes and talks, he tells the audience he has a bulldog named Sluggo and because of that, he says people think he is a dog person. His retort is, and I am paraphrasing, “I care about my dog, I don’t care about yours.”

Without knowing it, he has handed the world the best marketing mantra ever. I don’t care if McDonalds sells over 43 billion hamburgers; I only care about the one I just ordered. I don’t care if a soccer tournament has successfully managed the scores of over 900 games in a period of two days; I only care about my team’s scores being correct. I don’t care whether or not Apple has sold over $1 million iPhones in a day; they didn’t have one in stock when I went to buy one at the Mall of America early on a Monday morning.

Nobody cares that your Web site serves up jobs across the country. Do you list a job in their city, in their neighborhood, in their industry. This is why Craig’s List is so successful; they understand that to dominate the world, you must dominate neighborhoods, one block at a time.

If you are not local, you are everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. And now I have to go dominate some bushes at the house on the corner. Tony, you know I’m talking about you 😉

Don’t touch my junk; a TSA stand-off anthem for anti-healthcare reform and other government good stuff

In the 1970s, the government told us lead paint was perfectly safe. In the 1960s, the government told us asbestos was perfectly safe. In the 1950s, the government told us smoking was perfectly safe. In the 1940s, the government told us prenatal drugs were safe. Need I go on?

What are we missing here? Why are we being prodded into being hyper-focused on the prudery of being seen naked and ignoring the very questionable health safety claims of these airport full-body scanners? If we were told that in order to board a plane, we would need to each be given a flu shot, for our own protection from travelers who may be coughing and that shot would be administered by a TSA agent who carries no medical malpractice insurance or verifiable certification, would we submit to that? If we didn’t, we couldn’t board the plane. Nor could we leave once we entered the security area without being subject to arrest and fines. Would 98% of the flying public submit to that? Probably. We’re sheep and the TSA knows it.

CBS, NBC and other networks are saying that 81% of the public support the full-body scanners and 98% of all passengers are submitting to the full-body scan. They are in effect, saying that the “don’t touch my junk, opt-out” protestors are marginal, fringe, prudish nut-jobs. While the public is being corralled into the propaganda of the scanners as a “strip search,” the real concern of the scanner is being downplayed and all but ignored by both the TSA and the media. The real concern should be the health issues associated with using x-rays in a non-medical environment for non-medical reasons. The real concern should be how the TSA uses and abuses power once challenged by those who gave them the power — the American voters.

The double-down, dig-in, jaw-clenching, frustration-laden, totalitarian, “you don’t have to fly” rhetoric of Sec. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and TSA Director John Pistole is adding fuel to the fire of the debate. Not only is it adding fuel to the TSA v flying public, but it is giving ammunition to the GOP for health care repeal. “See how they act when you resist?” they will point. “This is your government doing what they think is best for you.”

And that has consequences. Even people who voted for Health Care reform will be doing a second take and asking themselves, “If this is how they treat me when I resist at the airport, what if I resist that mandated health care? Do I really want to be treated like this when I go to the doctor?”

What the TSA is doing is not real security. Barking at people non-stop, aggressively callously and disrespectfully patting down travelers, irresponsibly submitting them to doses of radiation that may or may not be a “safe dose,” threatening resisters with arrest or detainment is not security. It is a circus and a breeding ground for small-minded people to wield power over helpless citizens with impunity. We’re seeing this vein in Napolitano and Pistole. We see and feel it in the hands of the TSA agent who neither sees nor hears us as he gropes and recites the policy he has memorized but never listened to.

A calm, control of the environment is real security. While I don’t generally use Hollywood as an example of real life, a quick viewing of Roadhouse should be part of the training. Bouncers who yell, grab and provoke only increase violence. Coolers who quickly, calmly and quietly diffuse the situation leave most of the patrons not even knowing there was ever a threat. I’ve seen this work in many European airports.

You can feel a difference in the air between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) that is more than a little subtle. In AMS, you see the heavily armed guards around the perimeter, but they are not showy. You know you are being watched but not threatened. The guard who asks you questions in rapid succession is always calm, polite and respectful, but you are not able to goad him/her into an argument or force a break in character. (I’ve seen Americans try.) They ask you if it is ok to reach inside your coat in a soft, polite tone that makes you feel like you have a choice (you really don’t.) When you land on the US side, the transportation and customs people start yelling into the crowd to “get your passports out,” “make sure you have your Declaration Form 6059B complete,” “US citizens in this line, everyone else here” and on and on. The anxiety and circus continues to mount as the luggage moves through customs and you are “greeted” by agents. “Where were you? How long were you there? Did you visit any farms….” without respect or emotion except frustration and contempt.

But I digress.

The Federal Government has very few real opportunities to interact directly with the American public. Most of the time, we buy and sell things from corporations. But of the three government points most citizens touch — IRS, USPS and TSA — it seems to me that they could at least stop and think about how their most intimate interaction policy is affecting all others, seen and unseen. No less than the setback of modern healthcare for several more generations is at stake.

If you lose the trust of mothers with children at the TSA, you lose them at the doctor’s office as well.

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How do you see your world?

This was Sallie on our walk at the Lunchtime Wrestling Lot yesterday. She spent a lot of time sniffing the new bales of hay that the City of Englewood plopped down next to a Bobcat they were using to scoop up dirt piles alongside the drainage ditch they were lining with concrete. Eventually, they will use the Bobcat to spread some topsoil, lay some grass seed into the soil and spread the hay over the seed so it would grow.

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Now BP wants to be part of our community

I found myself filling up at a BP gas station, in spite of my arguments for a boycott. Hey, I was running late and it was the fastest entry onto the freeway this morning.

Before the Gulf oil spill, our local BP really wanted no part of our community of soccer clubs, tournaments, baseball teams, school plays or anything else that asked for a small sponsorship. After this Gulf oil spill, we are reminded of how much a part of our “community” they are.

Interesting.

Can we now count on you for a sponsorship for the several soccer tournaments where hundreds of players and their families stop by and buy gas? How about sponsoring the local Northmont High School play this fall with a $50.00 business card ad in the program? Can we count on you to really now be a member of our “community?”

We’ll be asking. We hope the answer will now be “yes.” After all, community is a two-way street.

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#140conf Road Trip in Dayton, Ohio – Photos and video

Jeff Pulver of 140Conf poses with Gary Leitzell, the Mayor of Dayton at the Dayton Road Trip meet up for the 140conf.

When we arrived at Blind Bob’s for the 140conf Road Trip Meet Up, there were already a dozen people there, waiting for and watching Jeff Pulver and his “roadies” navigate the Ohio freeway system. When Jeff arrived we had over twenty people there and more on the way. Apparently, this was a very large crowd, so we’re very proud of our Dayton peeps!

Gary Leitzell, the Mayor of Dayton (the REAL mayor, not the fake one on Foursquare) joined us early and stayed almost the whole time until his official duties as Grand Marshall of the Ale Fest kick-off parade pulled him away. We can now claim another “first” in a long list of firsts for Dayton, Ohio; the first mayor to join an official Tweet Up! Dayton, first in flight; first in Social Media!

We’ll be publishing the more “official” story in the next couple of days, but for now, we have a ton of photos and some video. Cindy DeVelvis also shot some really cool footage that will be available soon. Links here when that is online.

To download all the photos, grab the zip file here.

And some videos…