The Relay of Your Life

The TRUPERS at Relay For Life, Oceanside, CA, USA, 04/20/2013

The TRUPERS at Relay For Life, Oceanside, CA, USA, 04/20/2013

Everyone has their causes and things they support, and whatever you do that is positive, you’re making the world a better place. So I’m not here to preach or sell. What I will say is that if you’re looking for a fun, positive, low-pressure event that helps to save lives, I highly recommend the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. I’ve written about it here, here, and here, so I won’t reinvent the wheel in this post, but it is one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done. Continue reading

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Top 10 Famous Guys (and Women, Because “Gals” Is Not A Word This Blog Uses) I’d Have a Beer With

Top 10 famous people I’d have a beer with (or, it has been pointed out to me by a number of women friends, beer, wine, or other drink optional):

MEN

  • Bill O’Reilly
  • Bill Clinton
  • Denzel Washington
  • Barack Obama
  • Bono
  • Brian Regan
  • Lewis Black
  • Mitch Hedberg (R.I.P.)
  • Zuck (yes, Mark Zuckerberg)
  • Saved best for last….Jesus

Honorable mention: Bill Murray; John Gruden; Jake Johannsen

WOMEN

  • Sandra Bullock
  • Sarah Palin
  • Condoleezza Rice
  • Victoria Soto (Newtown, CT…R.I.P.)
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Megan Kelly
  • Abby Wambach
  • Meg Whitman
  • P!nk
  • Jodie Foster

Honorable mention: Mother Teresa; Meryl Streep; Alex Morgan; Taylor Swift

Yes, this blog is aware it is going not just to Purgatory but straight to hell for listing Mother Teresa as “Honorable Mention.”

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Sweet Home Alabama, and other thoughts

Since around March 1 I’ve been working remotely from my personal favorite venue among the places I’ve lived and worked thus far in my lifetime: Huntsville, AL, USA. (You may find that quite a statement from someone whose current home base is Oceanside, CA, USA, just north of “perfect weather central,” San Diego.) The Rocket City, designated as such due to the omnipresence of NASA and other aerospace organizations and facilities in the metropolitan area, is home to my high school alma mater, Virgil I. Grissom High School, named after one of the three astronauts who lost their lives in the fiery Apollo 1 disaster.

Stratecast on Twitter

By contrast with the final mission of those three brave souls, my stay here has been a wild and wonderful ride that is not over yet. My current job as a global program director at Stratecast enables me to work remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection and an airport. So I’ve been working throughout the trip on my syndicated research reports, and growth consulting projects for great clients such as HP, based on the Big Data, analytics, and business intelligence market. I’ve even handed out my first technology innovation award for the year, which seems appropriate in a world-renowned hotbed of technology innovation such as Huntsville.

Big Spring Park in Huntsville, AL, USAMy mission on this trip has been personal as well as professional. Being in town from Wednesday through Sunday last July for my Grissom High School Reunion gave me just enough of a taste of the town to drive me crazy waiting for a return engagement. So my non-working hours have been chock-full of fun with friends, both lifetime and new, at Drake’sWatercressConnorsDing How II, The Mellow Mushroom, Humphrey’s, Grill 29, and beyond. Continue reading

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Newtown calls for new answers | Part 5 & Conclusion

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STOP TREATING SYMPTOMS; SHUT OFF THE SOURCES

14) Enact the death penalty for any violent crime, which I hereby define as child sexual abuse “and up.” Federal law. No plea bargains, no deals, and an appeals process of one year maximum. Period. The legal merry-go-round that exists today sends the message to criminals and everyone else that we as a nation are not serious about punishing those who commit the most heinous acts against others, and the cost of keeping killers and the other worst offenders housed, fed, and cared for medically is draining federal and state coffers. It has also, in the most bizarre instances, created a sick semi-celebrity status for some of these criminals (and I will deal with that issue in a moment). The other benefit of finally dealing seriously with the most serious criminals will be to remove them from the gene pool forever. Evidence is mounting that killers are wired differently mentally and physically, but whether or not that is true, the nation simply cannot afford to continue to perpetuate through future generations whatever it is that enables them to kill.

15) Make families (core family: mother-father-children) financially responsible for restitution to victims if any immediate family member ever commits not just a violent crime but any crime. Federal law. The criminal apologists, and a lot of others, will rush to the defense of families: “They cannot be responsible for everything children and other family members do.” Great. So this law will send the message that people whose idea of “parenting” is the act of conceiving children, with little thought to actually raising them, will think twice before rushing to conceive. Those who do take parenting seriously will take it even more seriously. No one in the immediate family will be allowed to walk away from mass killings because “it’s not their fault”–as the family of the Newtown gunman, who never really dealt with his mental illness and then thought it was a great idea to bring high-powered weapons into the home where he lived, is going to do. This has got to end, and the core family (although I apologize for not presenting this provision until #15) may be the most important part of the solution.

16) Eliminate or supersede laws enacted in recent years prevent the state from helping the mentally ill if they or their families “don’t want to be helped.” Federal law. These laws came about because in some instances the government was locking people away without enough consultation, in dark, sad places where there was little or no actual treatment. There is no guarantee that can never happen again, but there is so little privacy anymore, and so much media access, social and otherwise, that abuses are much more likely to be brought to light. At some point, the community must protect itself. It is about the greater good. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”***

17) Ban movie or book deals, or any form of compensation that originated from a violent crime, to the immediate family of the one who committed the crime. Federal law. I am willing to amend this part of the plan such that there is no ban if the law were written this way: that if the criminal or any immediate family member profits in any way from a violent act, they get none of the money: every dollar is split equally among the victims of the violent act. That could have a positive effect by in effect putting the criminal and his or her family to work for the victims, which I fully support. The law must also include this specific provision: that crime victims and their families are free to do anything they want, earn any amount of compensation that originated from them being a victim of a violent crime, without restriction.

Last Thoughts For Now, and Call to Action

Those who wish to solve all the world’s ills by day’s end before they head out to party on New York’s Upper East Side, or in the Hollywood Hills, are going to continue to try to sell you the same easy answers they’ve been peddling on the “news,” on TV and in movies for decades. “All we have to do it ban assault weapons, or better still, ban all guns, and it will solve everything.” I wish it were that simple. It is not. It is going to take so much more than that. I have laid out the specific actions I believe it is going to take to truly put an end to this madness, and to start healing this country.

This process of dealing harshly with those who kill or injure others, and in some cases simply eliminating them from our midst—sending them to our Creator and letting Him or Her sort them out–will be unthinkable to “criminal’s rights at all costs” apologists, and I know others as well. Yet it will in fact not only act as the strongest possible deterrent to violent crime, it will also prevent some killers and other violent criminals from helping to give birth to the next generation of violent perpetrators. Removing violent criminals from the gene pool will pay dividends immediately and from that day forward.

The only thing that is going to give us a snowball’s chance in hell of changing this hell on earth that we have collectively created–or allowed to exist–is pulling together as hard as we can with serious positive intent. If that is not the currency you deal in, as my generous Italian relatives said more times than I can count: “You’re money’s no good here.”

I welcome your thoughts.

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*** Thanks to Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, and Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

!mB for animation

“Newtown calls for new answers” is a five-part blog series, each of which focuses on specific areas I believe we must address, together, to help stem the rising tide of violence in America.

Introduction & Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 & Conclusion

| Leave a comment

Newtown calls for new answers | Part 4

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RESPECT FOR LIFE…AND WOMEN

11) Enact a ban on partial-birth abortion, except when the mother’s own life is in imminent danger. Federal law. We cannot sow rampant disrespect for life in one area when it suits us without reaping a bitter harvest of death and destruction in other places where it doesn’t. Abortion saddens me, but sadly, I do not think there is a national will to change it beyond banning the partial-birth procedure. The line I always hear, and I do respect it, is that “a woman has the right to do what she wants with her own body”–and I agree it is wrong for men, starting with me, to be making decisions about that. Got it. There is also nothing right or just about forcing a woman to carry a child resulting from rape or incest–which some way out on the edges of rational thought have actually suggested–so those situations justify abortion without question, at least to me. What I think almost no one “gets,” though, because I’ve never heard anyone else say it, is that while abortion is indeed a women’s issue, in a great many instances it is also, and maybe more so, a men’s issue.

More than once in high school I heard guys say things like, “We’re doin’ it, and if she gets pregnant, it’s up to her to take care of it.” In other words, either become an unwed mother (more importantly, a young mother unsupported by the deadbeat dad)–or have an abortion. Men across the age spectrum have been putting women in tough positions here (no pun intended) forever, and there is no need for it. Too many men operate as if “all the way” is the only way, then compound the felony by…how to put this delicately…being in a hurry to take care of their needs with little or no regard for the woman. That sucks for the woman (again, no pun intended) and increases the probability of pregnancy. If both parties agree to sexual intercourse, options for pregnancy prevention abound. Yet all the way is not the only way. Many creative and pleasurable options abound there, too, and this writer is happy to convene a class for fellow male members of the species who think one option is all there is.

PROTECTING PUBLIC PLACES

12) Hire expert marksmen/sharpshooters for all schools, malls, movie theaters and other currently-unprotected public venues. Federal-state-local action, public-private partnership. Gun rights advocates make a common-sense point: “If a bad guy with a gun enters a school or other public place, the only thing that’s going to stop him is a good guy with a gun.” Yet the notion that we should arm teachers and principals is ridiculous and will invariably lead to more suffering through accidental shootings. (I know some teachers and principals are expert with guns. I applaud them, but in my view “a gun in every classroom” is simply a bad idea.) Airlines put air marshals aboard planes. Federal, state and local government buildings, as well as banks and many other private companies, have armed security. It is time we extended the same importance and protection to schools, malls, theaters and other public or semi-public venues to stop the horror.

This part of the plan also has the potential to yield serious economic benefits. If the trend toward mall and theater shootings continues, shoppers are going to begin staying home in greater numbers and do even more of their shopping and media consumption via online sources. Getting serious about protecting people in public venues is essential if bricks-and-mortar retailers (and yes, their customers) are to survive. Another economic issue is how to provide employment for returning military personnel. Given the high level of weapons proficiency among the men and women in this nation’s fighting forces, many would be qualified to serve as sharpshooters protecting the public from those currently perpetrating these mass shootings.

13) Install metal detectors at the doorways of schools, malls, theaters and other currently-unprotected public venues. Federal-state-local action, public-private partnership. If the number of access points makes this too expensive, close off some doorways. Metal detectors would instantly alert security to the presence of weapons. Of course, these detectors could also potentially inconvenience the public, who would have fewer access doors into public places, and who could potentially be “caught” by improperly calibrated detectors. Yet as we have adjusted to radically increased security procedures in and around airports, so, too, will we adjust to security as a way of life–one that helps protect and preserve our lives.

!mB for animation

“Newtown calls for new answers” is a five-part blog series, each of which focuses on specific areas I believe we must address, together, to help stem the rising tide of violence in America.

Introduction & Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 & Conclusion

| 1 Comment

Newtown calls for new answers | Part 3

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SCHOOLS

7) Return freedom of voluntary (not mandated) prayer to the schools and all public places. Federal law. Erasing God from the public square has not worked. It has created a void that greedy interests have filled with shallow values and outright sleaze. Further, while some of you may think it’s kind of funny to talk about, for example, “no prayer in schools but the University of Michigan is building prayer rooms for Muslims,” as was announced in 2007;** or, “no public prayer but they’re building prayer rooms for one faith at the airport”–I don’t. Of course there is nothing wrong with letting people express religious beliefs, in appropriate settings and without mandating that anyone else do or believe the same, in public settings. Now we must extend that same courtesy to all faiths, including the Christian faith tradition that was at the core of the founding of this nation. As a bonus, by “allowing” voluntary expressions of religious expression we will potentially be providing a spiritual haven for someone who would have become the next mass killer.

8) Return the every-morning Pledge of Allegiance to schools. Federal law. Many of us grew up with this and it helped set a tone that the classroom, the teacher, the school, the NATION were to be respected, and that we were lucky to be here. No nation on earth lets uncaring idiots control these kinds of things the way we currently do in America, and it is time for it to end. No exceptions.

9) Force schools to address, in meaningful ways, the serious bullying that has provably and directly led to a number of these shootings. Combination of federal, state and local action. This nation has now experienced story after story, for years on end, of out-of-control bullying of some students by others–and school administrators who ignore and deny it; who even when confronted with clear evidence, take no action to resolve it; and who instead ostracize and humiliate bullying victims and their families. This must come to an end because it is a primary reason schools became the preferred venue for these mass killings. School administrators must take action on bullying–or be replaced in their jobs by those who take it seriously and act accordingly.

10) End the National Education Association (NEA)’s war on homeschooling. Federal-state-local action. I was not homeschooled, but more and more families are choosing this option, and it is time the defenders of “choice” in other areas (I’ll get to them in a moment) knock it off and support whatever is best for the children. How dare you do everything in your power to force families to release their children into your care when you cannot begin to ensure their safety or the safety of teachers? When you by and large not only do nothing about bullying but ostracize and humiliate bullying victims and their families? Do you think you somehow have the right to force families to send the most precious things in their lives, their children, off to a place where odds are high they will be bullied by a fellow student, and odds are rising that they will someday find themselves utterly defenseless in a shooting gallery? Damned right, you don’t.

** After a public outcry, the university has now made them available to all faiths

!mB for animation

“Newtown calls for new answers” is a five-part blog series, each of which focuses on specific areas I believe we must address, together, to help stem the rising tide of violence in America.

Introduction & Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 & Conclusion

| 1 Comment

Newtown calls for new answers | Part 2

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MEDIA

5) Ban assault media: get serious about banning or seriously limiting violence in all forms of entertainment from gaming to TV to movies to music. Federal law. Just as the gun and abortion lobbies (I’ll get to the abortion lobby in a moment) won’t admit their all-or-nothing positions are indefensible, so, too, do we see big media trotting out its statistics-driven lies so it doesn’t have to change a thing, either. “Media violence has no effect on actual violence.” It’s simple, really: as media advertising sales representatives tell every potential advertiser, “advertising works.” The only reason the media exist is because they persuade advertisers to pay billions (total global advertising market: approximately $600 billion) for the privilege of exposing we, their target market(s), to advertising messages. As we know, they often run the same ad over and over and over. Why? Because repeated exposure to messages causes human beings to take action. In the case of media advertising, the action is most often to buy something or sign up for something. Not everyone responds, but enough do to make it a profitable business.

Now consider that according to Nielsen–the media measurement conglomerate whose audience figures the media are happy to use when it means justifying them charging higher prices for advertising–offers these figures on televised violence:

  • Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary (!) school: 8,000
  • Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
  • Americans who believe TV violence helps precipitate real-life mayhem: 79%

If repeated exposure to advertising causes a percentage of those who consume the advertising to take purchasing actions, it follows that repeated exposure to violence causes a percentage of those who consume the violence to take violent actions. We cannot continue to allow the media to continue to walk away from their part in the culture of violence. Instead, they should proud to be part of the solution. Under my plan, they will.

6) Restrict media mentions of the names of those who perpetrate mass shootings. Federal law (Federal Communications Commission). I am not certain what precise form this law should take because I am unsure how to execute it while still allowing the media to perform their function of informing the public. What I do know for certain is that in an age where the media are careful to “never show us a streaker at a sporting event, to avoid giving them attention and encouraging copycats;” and where, for example, the NFL won’t even show us two players fighting for fear of “encouraging violence”–a solution absolutely exists with regard to not glorifying these killers. My suggestion is to allow each media outlet one mention of the killer’s name and then simply refer to him on all subsequent mentions as simply the gunman or perpetrator or whatever other euphemism they like. (In my perfect world: “the evil, murdering scum who is headed straight to hell.”)

!mB for animation

“Newtown calls for new answers” is a five-part blog series, each of which focuses on specific areas I believe we must address, together, to help stem the rising tide of violence in America.

Introduction & Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 & Conclusion

| 1 Comment

Newtown calls for new answers | Introduction & Part 1

532611_10151321302367240_61073717_nA dear cousin has a childhood friend whose daughter attends Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, USA. As I understand it, their young daughter was home sick on that fateful day, just before Christmas 2012, when a cowardly, misguided and, we learned, likely mentally deranged gunman sent 26 souls, 20 of them children, to Heaven.

If there is a God and if anything I have ever learned in my life means anything, when that gunman gutlessly turned the gun on himself, he sent his own soul to hell. I continue to petition our Lord and Savior to allow me 26 minutes in that inferno, one for every victim, to address the gunman directly and personally.

My cousin’s friend’s entire family is now sick themselves: sick with sorrow knowing they were spared the Newtown tragedy while so many they care about were not.

I am sick over this myself. Not because a friend of a close relative is at ground zero of this horrifying nightmare, although that certainly brings it closer to home. No, it is because while this cowardly, evil gunman acted alone, and in that sense he is the only one to blame for those 26 beautiful souls being swept from this earth, the factors that have brought us to this place as a nation–where it would now be a shocking week that did not include a shooting at a public place–make clear that in many ways, he did anything but act alone. In this situation, and so many sickening others at schools and malls across the U.S., it appears that things “fell through the cracks.” And while so many people in my lifetime have spoken those words to me, it seems as if–like zone defenses in the National Football League, where defenders cover assigned zones, and offenses exploit “soft spots” (gaps) in the zones to complete their missions–we as a nation are so busy covering our political zones, and asses, that we are letting this nation’s lifeblood and future fall through the cracks.

Partisan “Answers” Are What Got Us Here in the First Place

I am a registered independent. Not because I’m “on the fence,” or indecisive, or don’t have an opinion. Actually, as you may learn if you bravely read on, I’m one of the most decisive people you may ever encounter, rabidly unafraid to stake out a position. No, I am a registered Independent because I simply cannot sell my political soul to one side or the other. You know the “sides”: Democrats versus Republicans. Liberals versus conservatives. Is our democracy at its core about the right of free speech, and more broadly than that, free ideas? You bet it is. Is robust debate a healthy ingredient in our democracy? Yep again. Yet here is what I believe–so help us God, if we ever want to fix any of our ocean of ills–had better stop being a part of our democracy, this noble experiment, this shining city on a hill: this business of far too many Americans opening their eyes at the start of each day “already knowing who they hate.”

…and my point is? Simple: if you’re reading along expecting someone who cannot wait to pounce on Newtown and other tragedies for partisan political advantage, you can forget it. If you hope to add partisan politics to it, through the kinds of vicious comments that make their way onto some of talk radio and The Daily Kos–well, daily–I have the only vote that counts when it comes to posting them here. Frankly, I am sick of it, and about it. Let the well-funded, entrenched idiocracies keep right on being part of the problem, creating and reinforcing political gridlock: the any-gun-for-any-reason NRA lobby, the every-criminal-has-a-heart-of-gold apologists, the any-abortion-at-any-time NOW lobby, the everyone-is-a-victim lobby. They’re all happy to keep “doing their worst”* to keep tearing this nation apart, and they’re doing a killer job of it.

282584_10151317946307240_2117344056_nI live by this crazy principle, in political matters and all things: “Don’t tell me who you are. Show me what you DO.” We need all the great ideas, specific plans, hard work and action we can get, or we’re not going to survive as a nation. The Chinese, the terrorists, the harrowing global economy are not going to wait around for us to figure this out. As Bill Clinton once said: “We don’t have a single person to waste.” And as a great many have said over our history, “time’s a wastin’.”

So on with the plan. Below is part 1:

GUNS AND PROTECTION OF FAMILY AND LIVELIHOOD

1) Immediate need: tighter gun control, and a ban both on assault weapons and the high-capacity ammunition they use. Federal law. We were at long last smart enough as a nation to end the idiocy of “drinking age 21 in this state, drinking age 19 in an adjacent state” that sent underage drinkers speeding across state lines to their death (and causing the deaths of untold others). Let’s figure out what we can all agree on and get it done. This business of “We’re not gonna enforce any gun control laws here in our county if we decide they’re unconstitutional”: hey, have the balls to go ahead and secede from your state, or “the union” (the nation). As long as you’re part of THIS household…I mean, nation…you obey our rules.

2) If anyone breaks into your home or business, or pulls a gun or knife on you or anyone in your home or business, you or anyone acting on your behalf has the right to injure or kill them without being prosecuted for it. Federal law. Banning assault weapons and placing other limits on guns also removes a deterrent: witness “gun-free zones” such as schools and college campuses where most of these senseless mass killings are occurring; and much larger “zones” where it is illegal to carry a gun, such as, um, New York City, which few who walk the streets of that city would say is safer because of the ban. Right now killers know they are operating from a position of power against defenseless victims. It is time to take back the power.

3) Redefine the ridiculously limited current notion of “self-defense.” Federal law. Self defense is no longer to be construed as, “he was coming at me with the threat of immediate death or serious bodily harm to me–but if he stops, or turns away, I cannot do anything to him.” Let’s get real and stop pretending we don’t know what we all know: that anyone who would threaten violent death on others “will be back.” We are perfectly within our rights to eliminate that person so they will never again bring harm to us, our loved ones, or anyone else. We are under no obligation to stand by and “wait ’til they come back to finish the job.”

4) No one who is hurt or killed while they themselves were in the commission of a criminal act, nor their families or friends, nor anyone else on their behalf, shall be allowed to bring a lawsuit or negative action of any kind against those who hurt or killed the criminal. Federal law.

The cumulative effect of the changes in this first section, provisions 1-4, would be to show that we actually are serious and thoughtful enough not to simply place any weapon in anyone’s hands for any reason–while at the same time letting anyone contemplating a violent criminal act know that they are not cleverly preying on innocents. Instead they will know clearly that if they break into or otherwise enter anyone’s home or business with intent to commit a criminal act, it may well be the last thing they ever do.

* Thank you, Monty Python troupe

!mB for animation

“Newtown calls for new answers” is a five-part blog series, each of which focuses on specific areas I believe we must address, together, to help stem the rising tide of violence in America.

Introduction & Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 & Conclusion

Posted in Cotrupe, MarketBLOG, MarketPOWER, research, social media, strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HotBLOGS: “One and Done” by ladyk422

Love this blog post and wanted to be sure MarketBLOG readers don’t miss it. The piece is a lively and entertaining glimpse into a family’s beauty and talent pageant adventure, by a blogger known only as ladyk422, who describes the blog this way: “The day-to-day ramblings of a soon-to-be empty nester.”

Enjoy…

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MarketBLOG 2012 in review by WordPress

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. [WordPress’s words, not mine, but kind of hilarious so I’m keeping them.]

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in analytics, apps, Big Data, branding, business, business intelligence, Cloud, Cotrupe, marketing, mobile, products, research, social media, strategy | Tagged | Leave a comment