Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Live for Today

I'm a faithful Today show watcher (nothing better than a dose of Matt Lauer in the morning!) and recently they have been doing a series called, "Live for Today." They asked viewers about 2 months ago to go to their website and list/vote for the thing they most want to do before they die. Over the past month, they have featured many of the viewers' choices, ranging from riding in a Hot Air Balloon to dancing with their husband.

In reflecting on my list, it's hard to narrow it down to just a few. But to be creative, I need to list the obvious things, then focus on those more unreachable dreams for the real list. Before I die, I would like to be a wife and/or mother, although I should probably list "get a date" based on my current status. As a Christian, each day brings a new goal to reach higher as I strengthen my faith and share the gospel. That goal is an ever present one in my life, and will be until the day I die.

If I list those creative, somewhat unreachable things I'd like to do before I die, I've narrowed it down to five...in no particular order. Drumroll please...

1. Write a novel that makes it to the top 100 best-selling list
2. Host a radio talk show
3. Write a daily or weekly column in print or online media
4. Be a cartoon voice in a successful animated film
5. Record a duet with Harry Connick, Jr.

Just reading my list makes me smile.

What are those things that make you "Carpe Diem"? A nice way to reflect on a Tuesday that feels like Monday afternoon...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The South will Rise Again

Well, the final "real" Reality shows came to an end last night with the crowning of the new American Idol, Carrie Underwood. I have to say that for the first time in my Reality history, I would have been happy for either contestant to win. But, I'll admit as an American Idol geek, I voted quite a few times for Bo (and once for Carrie, just because I liked her).

The interesting thing this season is that the Pop and R&B genres really didn't dominate. We had a season of country and rock and roll, and, as Ryan Secrest would say, "America, you voted." And vote we did - 500 million votes across the entire season. A little country girl from Oklahoma beat out a southern rocker from Alabama named Bo Bice. The future for both of these southerners is quite bright it seems. Carrie would do well to include a duet with Bo on her first release because their harmony together is almost better than their vocals individually.

Pondering the success of this show, given that the best singers aren't always the ones to win, why is it so popular? Aside from the normal Reality show hook, I think the participation factor is huge. I'd love to have a seat in Trump's boardroom. Or vote off someone on Bora Bora from my living room. Only Idol gives us that ownership. Second, I think Idol does something few Reality shows do now -- only have one season a year. What a concept? Sitcoms do it, dramas do it, but most Reality shows squeeze in two or three "seasons" every year. The idea wears thin, and then the thrill is gone. Let's hope the Idol producers keep the thrill going.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ice, Ice, Baby

Over the weekend I saw a company truck, "Jim and Joe's Ice" at the back of a local restaurant making a delivery. Stacked high behind the restaurant were bags of ice. I remember this little "Jim and Joe's" establishment from my younger days because they have this cool penguin logo. As a child, I didn't question their product, but after my observation this weekend, I did.

A company actually makes a profit selling frozen water? I often wondered who their customers were. I'll head to the local gas station or grocery store to pick up an extra bag of ice if I'm entertaining and fear I'll run out. I sure wouldn't head across town to Jim and Joe's. And, my assumption was that restaurants had some advanced industralized machinery that when water was poured in, ice would come out. Has no one come up with that idea yet?

If there hasn't been a large-sized ice machine created, I need to do it and be the hero of every O'Charley's in America. Otherwise, I think I need to go rake in the money by freezing water into little cubes and charging enormous prices for the service. Only in America can two normal "Joe's" (or Jim and Joe) make a nice living with low overhead and a common household product that we all can make easily. Go fig.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Movie Theater Theory

Like tons of other folks yesterday, I saw Star Wars Episode III. It's a fantastic movie - even for the non Star Wars fans in the crowd, and I highly recommend it. I hope to see it at again to pick up all the things I might have missed.

I went to a local theater here in Louisville, Tinseltown, with my co-workers for the afternoon show. Tinseltown has not been one of my favorite movie-watching venues, but it was the first to offer stadium seating in town. After yesterday's viewing, the complex has redeemed itself, thus solidifying my Movie Theater Theory.

I contemplated in the past, why did I like one movie theater over another one when, essentially, they're all the same? It came down to...my first date with a theater. The first movie I experienced at a theater forever formed the opinion in my mind of that complex. For example, StonyBrook, another local megaplex, has been one of my favorite places to see a movie - albeit the horrible parking. The first movie I saw there -- When Harry Met Sally. Shrek 2 was the first movie I saw at the newest theater in town - loved the movie, love the theater.

So, you may ask, what was the first movie I saw at Tinseltown? The Horse Whisperer. A painful way to spend 2.5 hours. Seeing Revenge of the Sith at Tinseltown has renewed my love for Tinseltown. The movie was good, the parking much more manageable, and, although I didn't partake, free refills on popcorn and coke! Sometimes it just takes a second chance...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Star Wars - My Prequel

In thinking of something for today's post, all that surrounds me is the excitement for Star Wars Episode III. I'm an employee at one of the many companies that will lose mass productivity today due to the debut of the Revenge of the Sith. We're going as a team to watch the movie this afternoon - what a cool way to spend a rainy day!

It's amazing how one release of a movie will consume the media at every turn, amass large amounts of blog entries, and cause a company to host an outing. And being the normal human, I'm caught up in the whirlwind too. I've spent the last couple of nights watching the first two Episodes to refresh and update my knowledge before I sit through the final installment of the Lucas trilogy. Do you remember that feeling when you were in school the day of a field trip? You were so keyed up you couldn't sit still and you just sat and daydreamed about the fun to be had on your excursion. Well, imagine that, and you've got how I'm feeling. Over the cubicle walls, I hear a faint, "Is it time to go yet?" about every 15 minutes from another anxious co-worker. Some things of our youth never change....

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Top Five Rejected Titles for Star Wars Episode III

5. Go West, Young Apprentice!

4. Have Light Saber, Will Travel

3. A Jedi's Tale

2. Master Yoda's Opus

...and the #1 Rejected Title for Star Wars Episode III

1. Lucas....I am Your Father....

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Advertising Watch

As a marketer, I watch with much critique at advertising...print, television, radio, online...whatever the medium. So, as part of my blog, periodically I'll highlight campaigns that deserve the Boo Award - my own "emmy-grammy-tony" for great advertising.

Chase has recently acquired Bank One. After that acquisition, they launched a television ad campaign that has been one of the most memorable in a while. Advertising is all about appealing to emotion, but the winner of a Boo Award needs to do that in a classy, clever, and non-offending way. Chase, with the tagline "Your Choice, Your Chase" has done a great job at tugging at the heartstrings. In two of the commercial spots, popular music is the background for a family's life experiences. Wind Beneath My Wings accompanies a father and daughter as she prepares for her wedding, while the narrator closes with "Be prepared for all of life's moments." My other favorite is set to the music, 100 Years, by Five For Fighting, while we follow a couple's life from graduation to retirement.

Granted, to some of you this campaign may be too sappy, but for the romantic in me, I thoroughly enjoyed the message communicated, and the style in which they conveyed their message. Sure, it brought a tear to my eye, but more importantly, I remember the product -- Chase. And, the beauty of this campaign? No sex was used to sell financial services....thank goodness! Kudos to Chase for winning the first Boo Award.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Finding the Good in Reality

You either love it or hate it - Reality TV. I'm not so obsessed with it that I watch ever show that debuts, but I am a faithful follower of the highest rated network reality shows. Although it gets a bad rap at times, and deserves it, this most recent season of Reality TV has shone some promise of redeeming qualities.

Last night, the Survivor season came to a close with Tom, the gray-haired fireman from New Jersey, as the million dollar winner. He played an honest game and had the record for most challenges won. What was interesting were the lessons learned from the cast. James, a steel mill worker from Alabama, said after his almost 30 days on Survivor, he realized how he'd taken his wife and children for granted. Ian, one of the final 3 survivors, willingly gave up his chance to be in the final two to mend a betrayed friendship with Tom. In the recap show, Ian said the integrity Tom showed was something he admired and was willing to sacrifice the money to gain Tom's friendship and respect back. Amazing, an outspoken Jersey fireman, with a little age on him, won the game being honest, and along the way some folks learned some valuable life lessons.

On another of my favorite reality shows, The Amazing Race, teams of two raced around the world to win a million dollars. This season's draw was the former Survivor couple, Rob and Amber, who ran the race in hopes to win their second million. The team that one, Uchenna and Joyce, was a married couple from Austin, Texas. They overcame some huge obstacles to win. Along the way, Joyce shaved her head to move them to the front of the race. During that emotional process, Uchenna encouraged her on how beautiful she was and admired her for her courage. On the next to the last leg of the race, this team came in last, requiring them to give up all their possessions and starting the final leg with no money. Amidst begging for money and being in last place, they endured to the end and became the winners of the million. During that last leg, Joyce commented that prior to the race, they had looked at options of ending their marriage. In interviews after the race, they said that the race had really sparked their love for each other again, and, had they won or lost the race, they were going to stick to their lifetime commitment together.

I always like to look for the good in what can sometimes always be perceived as bad. Some of these participants won a million, but, for a lot of them, the wisdom they gained is simply priceless.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Certain times on the calendar, the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday. And today is that day! For those that fear the number 13, or the combination of that date also falling on a Friday, take heart....all your phobias and fears are worthless.

The history of this supposed fateful day is rooted in numerous places. One theory is it comes from a Norse myth where some god was murdered and the world went dark. Whatever. Or, some even tie it to Scripture....stating that Judas was the "13th" guest at the Last Supper...Christ was crucified on Friday. Even some biblical scholars believe that Adam and Eve were tempted with the forbidden fruit on Friday...and that Cain killed Abel on Friday the 13th.

On a happier note, my personal experience has been a very positive one on Fridays that land on the 13th day of the month. My first brand new car, which I custom ordered myself, rolled off the truck on Friday the 13th. Out of all the cars I've owned, that one has probably been the best vehicle I ever had. I accepted a job about 13 years ago (ooo, didn't see that one coming!) on Friday the 13th, and although I'm not still at that job, it has been the doorway for every other job I've had in the last 13 years.

If you are a triskaidekaphobe, someone who fears the number 13, put all your fears aside. A day of the week or a number on the calendar does not dictate your experiences. The Sovereign God who created all that we see and experience, is in control of your Fridays...and your Friday the 13th.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Scarlett Rose

Living in Louisville, Kentucky, we are sometimes confused as to our North and South allegiance. Northerners think we're hicks, Southerners think we're too Northern. But, living along the Mason-Dixon Line, we are able to claim whichever side we want, and get away with it! I choose to side with the South. I've always wanted to be a Southern Belle...they are prettier, more graceful, and lovelier and fit the vision of romance I desire.

The greatest of all Southern Belles is the feisty character from Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara. This charmer in the Civil War tale had wonderful sayings..."Oh Fiddle Dee Dee"...."I'll think about that tomorrow"....and "As God as my witness, I'll never be hungry again." She was sweet and innocent (or so appeared), yet a strong lady in tough times. The original Steel Magnolia.

I never compared myself to her, because, frankly my dear, I don't look like Vivian Leigh. But, her spunk and attitude is something I've come to realize I possess. I sometimes give the appearance of sweet and innocent...and I am at times, but more often I portray an independent woman, like Scarlett. Not because I want that, but because without a man to dote on me, I have no choice. In the past, I've been somewhat offended at the claim I'm high maintenance, but, I'm learning to embrace that and rejoice in that quality. It's obvious, Scarlett was high maintenance too.

All this brings me to my further analysis, Scarlett was a romantic. She manipulatively pined away for Ashley Wilkes....a beau she could never have. Boy, can I relate to that! While all along, in the background was the dashingly handsome Rhett Butler, who continously got under her skin. The glorious thing about Rhett was he was exactly what Scarlett needed -- a man who could handle her independence, admire her spunk, and cater to her high maintenance needs. I've come to realize, that's what I need. While I'm out there searching for Ashley, I need a Rhett to step into my life, jerk me in line, and sweep me off my feet. (Well, not literally, but you know what I mean.) There aren't many Rhetts in the world, but I'm certainly hoping my comes riding around the corner any minute.

One of my favorite lines from Rhett sums it all up. He says to Scarlett, "You need to be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how." Now that's the kind of man that can handle a Scarlett Rose.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pick a Card, Any Card

It's that time of year again....graduations, weddings. If I could take the money I've spent on shower and wedding gifts over the past couple of years, I could fund my own wedding!

My trip this weekend to the local Target was to obtain some graduation cards and a couple of wedding cards. I don't buy greeting cards a lot for a couple of reasons. One, I send online greetings a lot...they are interactive, fun, and can be delivered exactly on the day of the event, unlike the postal service that seems to have problems with efficient delivery at times. Second, I belong to a really cool card club that sends me a package of assorted greeting cards every six weeks or so for much less than what I'd pay for them at the store. But, there comes times when I need a card "on demand" and an online card just won't do.

So, I strolled over to the wedding section and found lots of great cards, all appropriate for the different wedding scenarios I was celebrating. Thankfully I have yet to see cards celebrating homosexual unions. I may just scream out loud at the store if that day comes. As I was walking over to the graduation section, I noticed a few odd cards....the headings read "Loss of Pet"..."Thanks for Pet Sitting." Now, I'm an animal lover, so no hate mail from ASPCA or PETA, but goodness, do you really want to pay $3 for a pet sympathy card?

My next visit was to the graduation section. My amazement with specificity grew as I saw graduation cards for every occasion...Middle School graduation (you have those??), College Graduation, Grad School Graduation, the MBA Graduate.....cards for Her, cards for Him...religious cards. With my choices expanded, a decision became even more difficult. I can't figure out if the motive of the card publishers is to make you buy multiple cards and decide later, or just to drive us crazy. At $2-$3 a pop, I'm in the wrong business!

My point is....someone needs to scream, "Serenity Now!"....I fully expect to see "Sorry you had a flat tire on your way to your honeymoon" cards...."Congratulations on the Severance Package from your Layoff!" cards... and "Let's Celebrate the Launch of Your Blog!" cards. The world continues to amaze me.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Top Five Signs It's Derby Week in Louisville

5. No Louisvillian works a full day all week.

4. The Mayor announces the "next big thing" to make Louisville great.

3. Every radio station in town, including the hard rock station, plays "My Old Kentucky Home" and Dan Fogelberg's "Run for the Roses" every hour.

2. Everything is coming up....roses, tulips, gas prices, hotel prices....

...and the #1 sign it's Derby Week in Louisville

1. All of a sudden every woman in town thinks she looks good in a hat.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Logistical Irony and Obvious Need

I've spent the last 4 days or so with my Dad in the hospital...by the grace of God, he's doing much better...but I find hospitals, with all their medical technologies, lacking in some common sense areas. It makes me want to knock on the door of the hospital CEO and say, "Helllloooo, McFly....does any of this seem odd to you?"

Let me start with a disclaimer that the unnamed hospital I'll describe is much like most hospitals in this area. Maybe if you are aware of different circumstances where you live, I'd love to know. Secondly, although these are minor things I'll discuss, the major good news is that the medical care and attention at this hospital is first rate, and honestly, I guess that's all that really matters. But, if we're striving for excellence...let's read on..

My Dad has been in the CCU, which for those medical illiterates stands for "Coronary Care Unit." Located on the 3rd Floor, near the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), it seems this floor is made for those in critical need. It can be a very sad place...I've sat in the waiting rooms where families are hugging in tears, phone calls are made and people break down in sobs..it's definitely not for the faint of heart. I often feel like I should do something to help them.

The irony of this logistical location is that the 3rd Floor also houses the most joyous place in the hospital....the Nursery. When I first went to see my Dad and got off the elevator, I quickly looked to see what direction to go for CCU. Ironically, the room numbers are the same for the nursery side and the CCU side. In the words of a popular song..."Isn't it ironic?"

There is something surreal to sit in a waiting room and experience death and loss, while at the same time see excitement and life beaming from just around the corner. The effect of that location can be two-fold...either you ignore the part of that floor you aren't experiencing or you begin to see the very circle of life. For the analyzer like me, it causes me to realize what a vapor this life of ours is.

The other obvious thing this hospital needs is an internet cafe. The ability to use most technical equipment is prohibited in many areas of the hospital due to its reaction to the medical equipment. But, given the way of the world and their connectivity of email, having the ability to go to a computer in a safe area, log onto email, and send out global updates would alleviate the pressure for family members trying to alert family and friends on the patient's condition. To solve that problem for me, my best friend is the point person, making a majority of the calls on Dad's condition to update those who want to know. But, if I could have done that from the hospital, I could send out the word immediately, and to everyone at one time.

One of my Mom's favorite phrases was, "When will he ever learn?"....and I can hear her echo that in this situation....when will hospitals learn to be a comfort and help to the family in the communication area.

I'll close by thanking all of those who've been praying, and continue to pray, for my Dad. He's had his ups and downs and hopefully will be back on his feet again real soon.