Tampa Bay, FL
“What kind of music do you play here, Bob?” “Oh, we got both kinds. Country and western.” (Bob, the bar owner, and Jake Blues in “The Blues Brothers”)
Each year around July 4th, I like to post something on the blog about the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The part about free speech remains a protection that Americans enjoy (most of the time)… while much of the rest of the world refuses to even consider the concept.
Even otherwise enlightened joints like Europe have an itchy relationship with free speech.
Hell, we couldn’t get such a protection passed here in the States now. If it hadn’t been wedged into the Constitution by Jefferson in the Bill of Rights 240 years ago, it would still be an unrealized pipe dream of writers and deep thinkers everywhere.
Make no mistake: Your freedom to write blogs without government interference… as well as your right to use words like “fuck” to your heart’s content while making your point… is protected (mostly).
And this freedom is what fueled America’s dominance in stand up comedy.
Hey, don’t scoff. Satire, ridicule, and funny stuff very much qualifies as deep thinking.
In fact, it’s how public opinion gets changed the fastest.
And this freedom has been denied to almost every human who has walked the planet in our history.
So don’t take it lightly. Your ancestors would have killed for such a seemingly obvious privilege (and both did kill to get it, and die defending it).
The Man don’t like free speech.
Bugs him. Irritates his sense of authority and moral dominance.
Well, fuck The Man.
For every writer who was or will be jailed for writing the truth (as he or she sees it)…Read more…
“Let’s just say I was testing the bounds of reality…” (Jim Morrison of The Doors)
We have a winner!
Actually, the winning answer to last Friday’s quiz crashed the gates within ten minutes of the post going live.
But it was good to let the test string out, anyway… because the hard-core thinking and pure cogitation going on was excellent mental exercise.
… there was so much fresh thinking in the over 200 responses (as of right now — they’re still trickling in)…
… that I feel compelled to bestow THREE prizes.
One, for the first right answer. And two more for honorable mentions — one for Best Exhibit Of Pure Kick-Ass Attitude… and another for Cracking Me Up with real wit and cleverness.
I’ll reveal the winners in a moment.
First, though… let’s unravel what we’ve all learned here from this little brain teaser.
Revelation #1: James Surowiecki, in his book “The Wisdom of Crowds”, pointed out how often polls and crowd sampling is dead-on correct.Read more…
“Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.“ (HAL to astronaut Dave in “2001”)
Okay, let’s do a quickie quiz, what d’ya say?
It’s Saturday evening, after all… and I just got my ass whupped by Michele at Scrabble (her first win, ever, in 10 years of trying) (and I don’t expect to ever hear the last of it anytime soon).
(What’s the time limit on doing the “Ass Whup” dance, mocking your partner, anyway?)
So, to keep my mind off the misery of such a wrenching loss (she accidentally used all 7 letters in her third turn, and that bonus 50 points is what beat me), I’m hiding in my office.
I’ve got maybe 10 minutes before I have to come out and face more taunting and jublilation.
Thus, a quick blog post. (“Get out of here! I gotta work…”)
I’m giving a prize away, of course.
Let’s se… how about a fresh copy of “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel” to the first right answer.
I’ve got a nice new one burning a hole on the shelf across from my desk. It’s got your name on it, Mr/Ms Winner. I’ll sign it, and have Diane ship it out asap.
Okay. Here’s the quiz:
The most common question I get from entrepreneurs who are stuck on some part of their marketing…Read more…
“I yam what I yam.” (Popeye, avoiding introspection.)
Are your routines helping you… or slowly murdering you?
As with most of life, it’s complicated.
And you’re gonna have to spend more than your normal 38 seconds cogitating on this issue if you’re ever gonna make peace with your natural inclination to habitualize your ass into oblivion.
(Side note: During my excellent interview with StomperNet founder Andy Jenkins yesterday, he revealed the startling statistic that most of us now live in 38-second segments. This, apparently, has been discovered by guys in white coats with clipboards. The Web has installed a permanent ADD virtual chip in our brains, limiting attention spans to that of a gnat.)
(This is good info for marketers to have, especially when deciding how to position copy, testimonials, video, graphics and other elements on a website for maximum attention-grabbing. But it’s damned depressing when any conversation requires deeper thought… and you must construct your position with constant virtual shiny objects to hold the interest of otherwise bright people.)
(I just lost half my audience with that aside, didn’t I. Sorry.)
Ah… where was I?
Oh, yeah. Habits and routines.
The omega and alpha of trying to live well.
Routine has both saved my life… and backed me into corners that threaten to ruin me.
So it’s good to stop and examine your routines (and your habits) every so often. Not just glance at ’em, and pat ’em on the head. But really dig into them…Read more…
“Buttula spruiks arrival of Spork at his new gig.” (Actual headline in last Thursday’s “The Australian” newspaper)
Reporting in from the fringes of the Outback…
… okay, I’m actually comfortably settled in an intriguing old hotel in Melbourne, nowhere near the Outback.
It still feels like I’m far from home, though.
Two weeks into this March Across Australia now, part of a bedraggled troupe of speakers, and I’m thrashed. Don’t get me wrong — this is a great country, and we’ve been warmly embraced by the locals and shown amazingly-generous hospitality daily.
It’s just a long damn trip… made longer by that nasty plate of deep-fried snapper I had Saturday night at what looked like a decent little upscale restaurant downtown. I forgot the old rule of traveling: Never eat stuff that arrives with the eyeballs still staring at you.
I deserved the ensuing bout of immune-system-destroying dysphoria, I suppose. Last December, in Dubai, a bunch of us sauntered down to the bad part of town to sample “native” fare the night before we spoke… and nothing happened. We gobbled questionable curries and unidentifiable chunks of stew, and lived to tell the tale.
Afterward, we all looked at each other and said “What have we done?”
For most of my life, I’ve had little angels (or maybe just confused demons, I dunno) looking out for me… so I somehow managed to stay one step ahead of the Federales in Mexico, just-missed by the would-be hit-and-run jalopy in Hollywood, and usually slightily out of reach of the snarling bugs everywhere else yearning for a vacation in my intestines. (To name a few examples out of many.)
So, this time I got caught. It’s not Oz’s fault. It’s all on me.
And, I’m recovering fairly quickly. We have a couple of days to dig deeper into Melbourne’s wonders (my second time in the city), and then travel to Brisbane for the final leg of this preposterous journey.
Seems like Sydney was a month ago.
So, anyway, I’m just checking in to let you know that I believe I’ve found the answer to the long suicidal swan dive that American newspapers are taking.
And it’s very simple: Read more…
“It was never part of our plans not to play well… it just happened that way.” (Ron Barassi, Hall O’ Fame footballer & Carlton coach)
In about 10 days, my biz partner Stan will morph into Road Dog Stan, and we’ll both be off to the Land Down Unda.
Three weekends, three cities, three seminars to speak at.
We fly into Sydney… will drive up to Melbourne (where my old pal Ed Dale has previously shown me the amazing hospitality Oz residents offer)…
… then fly up to Brisbane (“Brzbin” to locals, I hear).
I’m kinda freaked just listing it all out. Fortunately, Stan and I have left our womenfolk behind many times before to go trudging off like Victorian explorers… into the dense, scary jungles of Seminar Land.
Armed only with laptops, Powerpoint, iPhones, wireless cards, Kindles, iPods, Dopp kits and a wad of clothes stuffed into carry-ons.
I’m telling you, it’s almost barbaric, the way we have to live by our wits in luxury hotels and biz class jets.
I really empathize with Livingstone and Stanley. (Or was that Stanley and Oliver?)
We will be one step above subsistence on the Maslow scale.
So hey…Read more…
“You’ll lose 20 pounds while you sleep!” (Go-straight-to-jail diet-ad lingo that nevertheless pops up every couple of years)
You know what?
I haven’t pissed anybody off in a while. So let’s see if we can’t rile up the mob a little bit, cause a little unrest in the ranks.
The best way to do this, of course, is to lift the blinders most people wear 24/7… and force them to face some uncomfortable truth or another.
Pop some bubbles. Expose the myths.
Oh, people HATE it when you harsh their zombie mellow… and snatch away their cuddly delusions.
Some may thank you later for the wake-up call. But most will snarl and bite, and rush back to the warm embrace of the dream they’ve languished in their entire life.
To be a great marketer, Read more…
Thoirsday, 9:43pm Reno, NV “Ask not for whom the dog barks. It barks for thee.” (Motto on our doormat.)
And welcome to the new blog.
I’ve pretty much just moved in.
And, as you can see, we hauled every scrap of crap from the OLD blog over here, and dumped it willy-nilly all over the joint. Coming up on five freaking years of archives over there on the lower right.
You could get lost in that Basement Of Wonders.
Be careful… should you muster the courage to go rummaging. (I dare ya.)
Jeez. I must be one of the longest-tenured bloggers in Read more…