Archive for December, 2010

The Santa Brand

It’s the Ho, Ho, Ho season.  And for many people that means Santa Claus and all that he represents.   Lots of people have struggled over the years with the mystery of Santa.  Why can’t he lose weight?  Does he have a beard?  Does he only live in shopping malls?  How does he get into houses with no chimneys?  And why is always dressed in red?

Some very bright branding folks, with a lot of time on their hands, have really nailed the Santa brand with this quite excellent Santa Brand Book.  It explains a lot.  Thanks to Dick Hadley for sending along.

Enjoy.

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An Imperfect 10

I’m a sucker for Top Ten lists, like these in Time magazine.  They have every conceivable Top Ten from politics to sports to entertainment.  I was especially happy to see they have a Top Ten Reality TV Moment list.  I mean is there anything more defining that reality tv as an expression of our first decade of the new millennium?  In 2000 there were four reality tv shows.  Now there are over 400.  Yeah baby!  And whoever wrote the piece says that Simon Cowell leaving American Idol was the #1 moment.  No kidding…was there any other reason to watch?  Did anybody care what Randy or Paula had to say?   AI will be done after this year.

And this was only #3 in their list of Top Ten political spots.  It was my favorite:

Just to add a serious note, take a look at these two charts I grabbed from the folks at Time via Chart Porn.  These give you a snapshot of some key economic indicators of the last ten years.  Gold anyone?

2000 - 2010

And this chart gives you a few examples of how much more digital we’ve become since 2000. 

More Facts and Figures

A Google-icious Year

Here’s what we searched on Google in 2010  in just under three minutes.  Enjoy.

Students First

For the thousands of you who have been reading PS you know that I’m a big public education reform advocate.  In the words of Michelle Rhee it is the civil rights issue of our time.  She has started a revolution called Students First  to transform our public education system. 

If you think public education is just fine then you need to look at these stats.  It is sobering to see how much we are failing our children and ultimately ourselves.  The reality is that public education is really not free when it doesn’t work.  It becomes very expensive to care for an increasingly less educated population.  We are now among the bottom third of industrialized nations when it comes to Math and English test performance among 15 year olds.  That’s pathetic. 

For those who don’t know Michelle Rhee is the recent Superintendent of Public Schools of Washington D.C.  Among other things she fired a bunch of bad teachers and closed schools that were broken.  She also proposed the end of tenure.  Instead she proposed merit pay for great teachers in which they could make six figure incomes, if they gave up tenure.  Imagine that, if you do a great job you can make a lot of money.  If you do a lousy job you get fired.  I don’t know about you, but that’s how my career worked.  And that’s how most careers work.  But today public school teachers get to keep their jobs forever after two years…regardless of performance.  Wow.

This is one of the goals of Students First…reward great teachers and get rid of the bad ones.  And ultimately the kids win.  Isn’t that really what we all want?  Imagine if all our children were not only graduating from high school but also going onto college.   Right now less than one-third of high school graduates go on to college.  And if I’m not mistaken our society has pretty much shipped all the high school graduate type jobs overseas.

Anyway, I could go on and on.  I joined, sent money and volunteered for everything.  I’m way in.  How about you?

The Wand Song

The holiday travel season is in full swing.   And that means the legendary TSA — those folks who put the fun into airport security — are amping up their full-body scanners and are ready to probe away.  Millions of folks are being subjected to pat downs in ways I could never even do in the back seat of my Chevy in high school.  So,  I thought it would be appropriate to have something  to sing as you are submitting to the wand.

Here then is the TSA anthem, which can be sung to the music of The Beatles’ I’m Looking Through You.  If you sing this during the scan it is sure to get you a pat down.  Travel safely.

The Wand Song

I’m looking through you, what do I see?
I think I caught you, what can it be?
You don’t look different, but something changed…
I’m looking through you, you’re not the same.

Your hips are moving, I need a beer.
Your voice is soothing, I should not leer.
You don’t sound different, but you’re not the same…
I need to pat you — this ain’t a game!

Why, tell me why, are you so uptight?
My gloved hand’s disappearing where there’s no light!

You’re thinking of me, in a mean, bad way.
You were happy yesterday, but not today.
The only difference is you’re getting x-rayed here…
I’m looking through you — you’ve much to fear!

Why, tell me why are you so uptight?
My glove is sanitized so relax, this will feel alright!

I’m looking through you, from high to low.
I think I see some, some hidden blow.
Now I must pat you down
To uncover what the x-ray found!

I’m looking through you, both young and old.
My wand is ready — a thing to behold!
I hope to find something good or bad,
I’m looking through you, and you’ve been had!

Nick and Tom Sing For our 25th

We are blessed to have two talented musicans in the family.  That would be Nick (R) and Tom (L).  For our anniversary they sang a bunch of songs for us.  This was my favorite.