Thursday, March 25, 2010

Carlo Takes Note Of
Cindy's Anniversary

I loved this story for its sedimentary layers of personal connections. It was written by an old friend and colleague, about an old friend and colleague (about whom we've written often here), and it appeared in a new online pub established by yet another old journalism comrade. The result made us smile. Anyway, I hope you'll stop by the Beachland Ballroom sometime and wish Cindy a happy anniversary yourself. The person and the place are eminently worth the visit.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Favorite Book
Title, Part 24

This month the top slot goes to a book with the oddly appealing title God Explained in a Taxi Ride (has anyone read it?). The runner-up is not quite so concise, but it also has an odd appeal to the eye and ear, at least for me: Getting Naked Again--Dating, Romance, Sex & Love When You've Been Divorced, Widowed, Dumped or Distracted. You can review earlier OFBTs here. As always, feel free to comment on these, share your own favorites, tell us we're half-baked nitwits or ignore us completely. After all, you're in control, people. We're just the hired help around here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Power of Word of Mouth

First, my friend Amy Mac kept telling me about it, and how people would stand in long lines to get in to the Lakewood location. Then word came it would be opening another location on my side of town, in Cleveland Heights. And now, Twitter is alive with breathless reports that the signage is actually going up as we speak. What's all the fuss about? A restaurant called Melt Bar & Grill, reputed to be one of the greatest and most creative purveyors of cheese-based sandwiches in the history of cheese-based sandwiches. I'm quite sure there have been admiring restaurant reviews galore, but I haven't seen them. What I have noticed with great interest is all the excitement and conversation about the place from people I know, like and trust. And that's more than enough for me. Stay tuned for a report on our first dining experience there. In fact, why don't you join me? The best comment on this string wins a free lunch (with me) there, at our earliest mutual convenience. A distinguished panel of judges is standing by. Meanwhile, my apologies to those readers outside the region. Still, we'd love to also hear your thoughts about the power of viral marketing--with restaurants, or any other damn thing you care to sound off about.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Teaching Others to Fish By Helping
Them Reveal Their Own Inner Riches

'The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.'
--British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Humor That Cuts a Bit Too Close
To the Actual Truth to Be Funny

The satirical Onion newspaper offers this take on the sluggish job market for new college graduates. We'd laugh, except for the fact that behind the humor lies a sea of actual pain for millions of young people eager to find work. The saddest part of all is that your first job after college tends to set your expectations for the world of work over one's entire career. Let's hope this situation turns around soon. Meanwhile, there are plenty of ways to help, besides pointing folks to the Wall Street Journal's thought-provoking career section, which is always rich in actionable insights. This piece outlines five tangible things you can do to help a friend or contact who's hunting for a job. They all apply equally to recent graduates looking for their first career position. We'd love to hear your stories of how you or others are helping, or perhaps being helped.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It Mostly Depends On
Your Preconceptions

'The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.'
--Leo Tolstoy, as quoted in the opening of Michael Lewis's new book on the near-meltdown of financial markets. You can review an earlier Tolstoy mention here and a prior mention of Lewis here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Irish Day

'My Irish side is craving the Guinness I'll have at 4pm. My Ukrainian side clipped the recipe for Lola's Beef Cheek Pierogis in today's PD.'
--our favorite St. Patrick's day-related comment, noticed on the Twitter feed of a lively young woman who was nice enough to coach a friend of ours in her job search. We think Irish and Ukranian is a pretty good mix. Okay, now it's your turn.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Few Things We Couldn't Help Noticing

The Next Big Things: home tests for sperm count (gentlemen, drop your drawers). After that: using brain scans to help sell you things. A brave new world, isn't it?

Gender Balance. Not long ago, we brought you word of some memorable movie dresses. So for some gender balance, GQ mag takes a look at its 50 most stylish Hollywood leading men. Favorites, anyone?

One Hundred Places...In Italy every woman should go. Do drop us a postcard if you're there, will you?

Do Me a Favor, If You Would. Someone sent me this academic site from Penn State about language development and related topics. I haven't spent enough time on it to tell if it's worth adding to my list of places to occasionally graze. So I'm up for your suggestions on that.

Gone But Not Forgotten. Someone compiled their list of favorite out-of-print books, which got me to thinking: which would I add to that list? None came to mind immediately. You?

Obnoxious Commercial Pitchwomen. I can't decide (do you notice a theme here? I'm just damn undecisive lately) where Flo, the chipper character in all those Progressive Insurance ads, fits on my list of commercial pitch people I'd just as soon do without ever seeing again. The thought of appearing in a commercial with her left me a tad cold. On the other hand, when it comes to obnoxiousness, she's got quite a ways to go before she could ever compete with those jilted cave men that are somehow supposed to make me want to do business with Geico Insurance. That wins my vote, hands down, for dumbest ad campaign in history. All the brain scans in the world couldn't change my mind about that one.

Finally, We End on a High Note...With this look back at an important moment in Abe Lincoln's career. Even at 201 years of age, old Abe still somehow always manages to raise our spirits.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Favorite News Photo & Video of the Week

A 42,000-year-old baby wooly mammoth, preserved intact by the Siberian permafrost. Whether you're an animal lover, a science person or just into history and archeology, this is a photo and an accompanying story almost guaranteed to draw your attention. It certainly got mine. And speaking of science, you seriously need to check out this video. It gives the lie to the notion of humorless scientists, grimly laboring away in their lab. We'd love to hear your thoughts about either or both of these.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stop the Presses!

Karl Rove's new book contains serial falsehoods. Who would have thought such a thing was possible? You can review earlier STPs here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

'Mere Knowledge
Is Not Enough'

'Man has two windows to his mind: through one he can see his own self as it is; through the other, he can see what it ought to be. It is our task to analyze and explore the body, the brain and the mind of man separately. But if we stop here, we derive no benefit despite our scientific knowledge. It is necessary to know about the evil effects of injustice, wickedness, vanity and the like, and the disaster they spell where the three are found together. And mere knowledge is not enough; it should be followed by appropriate action. An ethical idea is like an architect's plan.'
--Gandhi. You can review earlier mentions of him here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Please Join Me Next Week for a Session
On Using Linkedin To Build Your Network

I welcome readers from the Northeast Ohio region to join me next Tuesday evening for a seminar at the Beachwood Library on using Linkedin to build and maintain your human network. I've written about the power of this unique virtual tool a little in the past, and it will no doubt come up again. Meanwhile, I'm pleased that so many readers have taken me up on my invitation to connect there as well. I hope others will as the spirit moves them. And naturally, I'd love to renew acquaintances and/or meet some of you next week in Beachwood.
UPDATE: I'm told the library has closed registration for this event because 80 folks have signed up, and there's no more room at the inn. The power of Linkedin once more! But my apologies to anyone who wanted to come and couldn't. I'll be sure to do this again somewhere, soon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Best Lead of the Month

'Last summer in Seattle, Starbucks opened 15th Avenue and Tea, an unbranded café featuring “small batch coffees sourced from individually owned farms” and a variety of fussy brewing methods designed to appeal to those connoisseurs who believe a cup of $4 coffee ought to be at least as complicated to make as a Big Mac. Live music is provided by a small-batch indie rock piano band sourced from a tiny town in Wisconsin. There’s an in-house “tea master,” and occasional outbreaks of poetry. Starbucks is 39 years old now, and like a lot of 39-year-olds, especially those who’ve experienced great success in their salad years but are beginning to wonder if they’ve lost their touch, it’s having a bit of an identity crisis.'
--from a splendid little piece in the libertarian movement's bible, Reason magazine, on the Starbucks chain's mid-life crisis. The San Francisco-based writer of the piece, Greg Beato, always seems to have his name attached to good writing in various venues. Our runner-up this month goes to this quietly fine New York Times piece about how Einstein's manuscripts that revolutionized physics are now on display in an Israeli museum. You can check out our earlier thoughts on Starbucks here, and review prior best leads here. And finally, class, we're granting extra credit for the first reader who can recall why we pay so much attention to lead paragraphs.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Some Iconic Celluloid Gowns to Remember

We liked the gentle play on words in this L.A. Times magazine headline, and the accompanying article was pretty interesting too. As for our favorite movie gown, we'd have to call it a draw between Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. You?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Why You Really Should Send That Letter

The tongue is prone to lose the way,
not so the pen, for in a letter
we have not better things to say,
but surely say them better.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Lebron: Will He Stay or Go?

The Cavs' Lebron James has formally petitioned the NBA to change his uniform number next year. Veteran NBA watchers say that means he's decided to stay with the Cavs next season, passing up the chance to test free agency, since NBA rules allow him to change uniform numbers without that formal process if he were to join a new team. A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times Off the Dribble hoops blog took a hard look at the possible suitors for his services. You can read part one here and part two here.
UPDATE: Kobe Bryant tells the L.A. Times that the Cavs seem like the hungrier team this year than his own Lakers.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Amen To That

"It is a continuing scandal that this vicious demagogue is kowtowed to by Republican politicians and enabled by nominally respectable media corporations and advertisers."
--Hendrick Hertzberg, writing recently on his New Yorker blog about bully boy drug addict Rush Limbaugh's persistent race-bating.
UPDATE: Bully boy vows on his show to move to Costa Rica if Obama's health care bill is passed, and the liberal Guardian newspaper asks its readers in a poll: should he stay or should he go? Not surprisingly, 85% of respondents, at last count, voted sayonara, Rush.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Humbling Thought for Teachers,
But a Good Reminder for Mentors

'You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it in himself.'
--Galileo Galilei

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Stop the Presses!

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reports that a recent study found that too much TV can hurt children. The shock waves are still vibrating through our body. Gee, we always thought it was perfectly healthy to put the wee ones in front of the tube for 15-16 hours a day. With major news media such as this, who said Canada is the land of the bland? Anyway, you can review earlier iterations of Stop the Presses here, and then we invite you to share your thoughts on the week's most shocking news stories.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Pardon Us While We Try Not to Lose Our Lunch

Sarah Palin, the leading emblem of the return of the American No Nothing movement (you can learn more about its original flowering here) gave us not one but two reasons to cringe this week: Word that she'll be having a book written in her name about "values" and the news that she's shopping some kind of show about her life and times, which will no doubt fit nicely into the idiot culture. Good god, won't this lady just go away and leave us alone?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Our Favorite Book
Title, Part 23

In a modest change of pace, this month's favorite--I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This--A Step-By-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work--doesn't so much win the nod for especially memorable wordplay, but rather for its admirable straightforwardness (the nice cover art doesn't hurt, either). This book title is similar in its crisp directness. As always, we'd love to hear your nominees. Meanwhile, you can review earlier fav book titles here.