When I received the email with the simple subject line FW: These are cute I had no idea what I was about to discover. Just that it was from Janie, a woman who uses the word "cute" sparingly and who does not send "chain emails" on a frequent basis.
It was an email I think I had seen before. It didn't take away the pleasure. Kind of like rediscovering a favorite CD that you haven't listened to for a long time. But as it turns out, the email with the funny words in it has been traipsing around inboxes for the past 10 years.
That's right. For the past 10 years people have been sharing the results of a
contest that started in the year that Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to
death for the Oklahoma City Bombings and The English Patient won the Oscar for best picture.
The contest originated in a weekly humor contest in the Washington Post known as the Style Invitational. This particular contest was week 271. Fast Forward to week 699 and this is what the column in the Washington Post had to say about the particular longevity of that contest.
Guiltar: a musical instrument whose strings are pulled by your mother.(Frank Mullen III, Aledo, Ill.)
Goodzilla: a giant lizard that puts out forest fires by stamping on them.(Sandra Hull, Arlington)
Hindkerchief: really expensive toilet paper; toilet paper at Buckingham Palace.(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)
still hasn't stopped: With mystifying regularity, we continue to
receive (often passed through several mailboxes at The Post)
unsolicited entries to what's sometimes called the "Mensa
Invitational," and most recently "Change a Letter, Change a Lot": The
results of Week 271 have continued to orbit in cyberspace for almost 10
years, picking up forwarders' own efforts along the way. We hope these
lost souls find us this week.
Here's the original list via Janie's email. It seems if you have an entry, the contest is still open. Enjoy!
Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which
asked readers to take any word from the dictionary,
alter it by
subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a
new definition. Here
1 Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house,
which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite
period of time
2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an
3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund,
which lasts until you realize it was your money to start
4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a
5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid
people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer,
unfortunately, shows ittle sign of breaking down in the near
6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself
for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very
8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of
sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get
9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when
you are running late.
11. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one
got extra credit.)
12. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is
sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth
explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
13. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting
through the day consuming only things that are good for
14. Glibido : All talk and no
15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to
seem smarter when they come at you
16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance
performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider
17. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a
mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be
18. Caterpallor ( n.): The colour you turn after
finding half a wormin the fruit you're
The phone call came just several hours after Dave learned from his physicians that his cancer was terminal and that he had three months to live. He thought he was going in for a gall bladder operation but when the
doctors opened him up they discovered that his digestive issues were
due to cancer, not a malfunctioning gall bladder.
Dave had been a client for many years. He was still drugged when he shared his news and then he made his request. He wanted me to come by the hospital that afternoon to talk about some things on his mind.
With three months to plan for the rest of his life, Dave wanted to enlist my company's creative services to plan a video for his funeral. As we talked about his goals for this video he also said, " You know, as soon as I'm back on my feet from this surgery, I think I want to go back to work."
As it turns out, Dave didn't die in three months or six months. His body responded to the chemo and he lived for another five years. During much of that time,he continued to work. He traveled the world but he continued to work.
Whether its for financial reasons, or just because like Dave, work represents normalcy, the majority of people who are fighting cancer are also staying on the job. Some like Dave go part time or have increased flexibility in their work day. But,they continue to work.
Just in case you were wondering, the world's largest producer of Lutefisk says sales continue to decline every year.
Actually Mike Olson, the owner of Olson Fish Co., made that statement in 2006 when he announced his company had purchased their largest competitor.
There really hasn't been much Lutefisk news since.
Lutefisk is not a growth market.Currently The Olson Fish Company in Minneapolis produces about 500,000 pounds of the stuff each year . They are trying to develop strategies to get more people eating this traditional Scandinavian dish. From their website,
For the uninitiated, lutefisk is a traditional Scandinavian dish made
from cod soaked in lye. Even in Nordic circles, lutefisk's unique
taste, powerful smell and squishy texture are treasured by some,
detested by others, and a source of mirth to many..
We kept calling it "soap fish", because it's made from stockfish and lye. I imagined a somewhat foamy sudsy dish that tasted like Thai curry.
it turned out, Lutefisk was quite delicious. Probably because of having
been soaked in lye, the fish was translucent and jellyfish-like. Butter
and white sauce were poured over top.
After dinner, the chefs of the night gathered and sang "O Lutefisk". I love the spelling of the lyrics :)
"Oh Lutefisk" Sung to the tune of "O Christmas Tree"
Oh Lutefisk, Oh Lutefisk, how fragrant your aroma, Oh Lutefisk, Oh Lutefisk, you put me in a coma. You smell so strong, you look like glue, You taste yust like an overshoe, But Lutefisk, come Saturday, I tink I'll eat you anyway.
Oh Lutefisk, Oh Lutefisk, I put you by the doorway I vanted you to ripen up, yust like dey do in Norway A dog came by and sprinkled you, I hit him vit an army shoe Oh Lutefisk, now I suppose I'll eat you as I hold my nose.
Oh Lutefisk, Oh Lutefisk, how vell I do remember. On Christmas Eve how we'd receive, our big treat of December It vasn't turkey or fried ham, it vasn't even pickled spam My mudder knew dere vas no risk, In serving buttered Lutefisk.
Oh Lutefisk, Oh Lutefisk, now everyone discovers Dat Lutefisk and Lefse makes, Norweigians better lovers. Now all da vorld can have a ball, you're better dan dat Yeritol Oh Lutefisk, vit brennevin You make me feel like Errol Flynn.
As for me, I will be dining on latkes and a standing rib roast tonighr -- nor Lutefisk or a gefilte fish on the menu.
After company executives announced they were closing a casino and that there could be up to 170 layoffs, one employee shared his thoughts about the decision by posting this comic strip on a company bulletin board.
In the comic Dilbert has a conversation with another person saying:
Why does it seem as if most of the decisions in my workplace are made by drunken lemurs?"
"Decisions are made by people who have time, not people who have talent."
"Why are talented people so busy?"
"They're fixing the problems made by people who have time."
According to the Des Moines Register , David Steward, a former security supervisor at the Catfish Bend Casinos was fired after the company searched through security tapes and saw that "Steward" was the person who put the comic strip on the bulletin board.
At a recent state hearing dealing with Steward's unemployment benefits claim, the casino's human resources director, Steve Morley, testified that "upper management" at the casino found the cartoon to be "very offensive" and fired Steward as a result.
"Basically, he was accusing the decision-makers of being drunken lemurs," Morley testified. "We consider that misconduct when you insult your employer."
Steward testified that he posted the comic partly because of the impending layoffs.
"I thought maybe it would cheer some people up," he said. "I found it humorous."
Steward said he was fired three days after posting the comic, with his boss telling him he wasn't a team player. The casino then challenged Steward's claim for unemployment benefits, but Administrative Law Judge Lynette Donner sided with Steward.
If you intend to mock your boss with Dilbert comics, the trick is in knowing which comics to pick. Apparently there is a fine line between posting a comic that criticizes a particular policy decision, versus a comic that calls your boss an inebriated prosimian. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
In order to get his unemployment benefits, the perpetrator had to convince a judge that he was merely stupid, not intentionally misbehaving. He succeeded, but it’s not the sort of victory he should feel good about, as in “Yay! The judge agrees I’m an idiot! It’s going to be in the newspaper and all over the Internet!”
The moral of this story is that if you plan to circulate a Dilbert comic calling your boss a drunken lemur, the best way is to use your boss’s unattended computer to e-mail it to the entire company.
Okay, so the company searched a security tape to finger Mr. Steward in the escapade.
Do you feel a comic coming on, Mr. Adams?
It's been almost thirty years since a Christine Craft, a TV news anchor in Kansas City filed a discrimination lawsuit against Metromedia for having different standards for male and female TV anchors.
Despite the fact that two juries sided with Craft, the case was eventually overturned on appeal.
In today's post at Blogher I question how we would be looking at the Hillary photo today if Corporate America had been put on warning three decades ago that when it comes to looks, men and women should be evaluated the same way.
Erin Zlomek of the Arizona Republic is reporting about a Phoenix realtor who has opened up shop in a Wal-Mart as part of their strategy to deal with a tight housing market.
However the line that caught my eye was not the fact that a realtor is hoping to piggyback on the foot traffic in Wal-Mart but this quote from a Wal-Mart executive,
It is the first residential real-estate company in the state - and one
of a handful across the country - with a contract allowing it to
advertise and sell properties from within Wal-Mart stores, Wal-Mart
spokesman Daniel Morales said.
So where are these handful of residential real-estate offices in Wal-Mart? They are definitely flying under the radar-- either that or people who blog in their communities don't shop at Wal-Mart because no one seems to be chatting about this development
The article also confirms that the way people purchase homes is changing the way realtors have to approach the marketplace.. Consumers are now viewing home tours on youtube, checking out statistics on Zillow and avoiding face time with realtors.
"As soon as a buyer gets in the car with a real-estate agent, his time is at the mercy of the agent," he said. "Buyers want to shop on their own; they want to browse the Internet."
McCarthy said the location inside Wal-Mart allows his company to revive the agent-client interaction from days gone by.
If I were advising the realtors, I might advise them instead of trying to "revive the good old days" to rather understand some underlying consumer beliefs-and explore ways to change that pricing model..The truth is most people feel that realtors are overpriced for the services they provide. It's like self-service gas stations and ATMs-- when people acquire the skills to do the job themselves, the need for paying extra or spending more time in line for personalized services dwindle.
That's what's happening in real estate. It's not that people don't like personalized service, they just don't want to pay what the realtors are charging. A demand to lower commission rates is just one of five key trends in home sales that the For Sale By Owner Blog is reporting. The other four: Lower Home Prices Increased Role of The Internet Increased Confidence in Alternative Selling Methods Increase in Rent to Own Buy-Side Assistance
# We'd like you to create a 30-second TV commercial that
best answers the question: How does showering yourself in everyday
luxury with Dove Cream Oil Body Wash make you feel?
# We'll pick 5 Finalists and fly them to Los Angeles for an exclusive,
Oscars® private-viewing party during the week preceding the Oscars.
# America will vote online for their favorite ad and help us pick the two Grand Prize Winners.
# It gets better- if your TV spot is one of the two Grand Prize Winners
judged to best represent Dove Cream Oil Body Wash, we may reveal your
winning ad on network TV during a commercial break in The Oscars® on
February 24, 2008.
Dove is not the only major corporation to use videos as a marketing tool. It's just that many other businesses pay their winners -- a lot.
If you are a Pepto Bismol Fan - they're offering their grand prize commercial winner $15,000.
Yet, the powers that be at Dove are relying on the belief that most women are so star struck that they would opt for 30 seconds of fame at the Oscars rather than cold hard cash. Come to think of it, why should it be an either/or? Why not pay $25,000 for the commercial and a trip to the Oscars?
It's not that appearing in a commercial at the Oscars wouldn't be exciting. But Dove is a for-profit business.Dove is saving a ton of money by not having a professional production team produce a commercial. Dove is getting great PR from its real women's campaign. PR that is translating to their bottom line.
Not offering the winners a financial award is as exploitive as air brushing models to set a beauty standard that is a complete fantasy and an impossible ideal for 99% of women to reach,
It's been several months since I got my wireless multi-function printer, fax, scanner, copier machine.
I heart my wireless multi-function center.That's what the industry calls my all in one printer, fax, scanner, copier machine - a multi-function centers
I love that I can be working in my family room, hit the print button and know that upstairs in my command center documents are being created even though my computer is not tethered to that printer.
And I still love it even though I was on hold for 45 minutes last week with technical support and then another 30 minutes yesterday to solve the same problem.
The wireless was not behaving. Seemed that every time I wanted to print something I had to reset the network IP address which requires getting down on all fours,pulling the multi-function center out of its comfy cozy shelf, and going through a series of steps via the menu to learn exactly what IP address is associated with the wireless. Then I have to get off the floor, check the computer to see if the IP address it has associated with the multi-function center matches.
They are supposed to match. For the past couple of weeks every time I need to print I discover the printer and computer are on different IP Addresses. It's annoying. It's not supposed to happen. Hopefully that problem has been corrected or my love affair with my multi-function center will lose some of its magic.
Even with this recent trouble I still am a wireless printer enthusiast. The question is do I love my multi-function center more than a flat screen TV or maybe the iPhone?
Turns out its not actually a news article but a press release from Lexmark - a manufacturer of all sorts of wireless printers. But you'd have to be paying close attention to the byline to notice that its from /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ and not a reporter. Since when did Reuters print corporate press releases as if they were a legitimate news story?
The Lexmark press release under the Reuters News Service banner starts out saying-- Wireless printers are the top of the list of new technology products people want this year holiday season.
Really? More than a flat screen TV? More than an iPhone? iPod Or a camcorder?
If you happen to read beyond the headline you'll find this,
That's according to a new online survey of 1,000 computer users commissioned by Lexmark International, Inc. (NYSE: LXK), a leading provider of printing and imaging products, services and solutions. When asked to list the top three technology products that they do not currently own, but would like to own, the largest number of respondents, 618,named wireless printers to their top three list.
A flat-screen TV was selected by 565 respondents, and camcorders were selected to the top three list by 451respondents.
In terms of absolute placement within the top three, flat-screen TVs were mostly frequently selected first (52 percent), wireless printers were most frequently selected second (41 percent), and camcorders were most frequently selected third (30 percent).
Only 6 percent of respondents said they already own a wireless printer.
More than eight out of 10 respondents (84 percent) said they would consider a wireless all-in-one (AIO) printer a great gift, and five in 10 (52percent) said they would consider giving a wireless AIO as a gift.
Lexmark offers a full line of the most affordable wireless printers in themarket, with pricing starting at just $79.99(2).
The fact that Lexmark used an unscientific survey to obtain "numbers that sing" is a tried and true PR technique.
The news media loves surveys and statistics.They love telling stories that include top ten lists and rankings.
PR folks know that when you spoon feed the media some drivel that includes pseudo statistics, there's a good chance that these pseudo statistics will be reported and then become media reality.
In a post called " Dilbert Has A Tattoo" , the authors of the best-seller Microtrends, (around number 500 on Amazon) Mark J. Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne outline the three microtrends affecting the workplace. Penn and Zalesne's theory is that in today's society the role of the MegaTrends is taking a back seat to the microtrends.
Someone once noticed that whereas most popular TV shows used to revolve
around the family - think Ozzie and Harriet, or The Cosby Show - now
they revolve around work. From CSI to Grey's Anatomy to, of course, The
the focus of Americans' lives these days, both on TV and in real life,
is their jobs. For all our talk of preciousness of kids and family, the
truth is that Americans today are flocking more to the rewards of work
and less to the rewards of family.
But in exchange for the devotion to work, employees want their jobs and
their workplace to match their sense of self - and smart employers are
paying attention. With choice, personal expression,
and individual fulfillment at all-time high, companies are doing
everything from revisiting their ban on tattoos (30 million Americans
now have them, including 1 in 3 people aged 25-29), to adding the
"expression of gender identity" - one's inner sense of being male or
female - to the list of things they won't discriminate against (100
corporations already do).
Back in July 2005, I also questioned the no-tattoo policy of many corporations in the post Tattoo Lady, In that post, I included an uber tattoo lady, one Amanda Rudder compliments of The Smoking Gun.
Ink enthusiasts like Amanda are the reason why HR departments have such a tough time creating tattoo policies.