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It covers something like 80 percent of the Earth, right? It comprises like 60 percent of your body. You can't live more than three days without drinking some. Water is pretty important. Next to oxygen, it's the most urgent thing. Last week it was urgent to us for another reason. We had enough of it in our basement to launch a fleet! We first noticed this stale smell coming from the stairs and the elevator shaft. When we followed the smell, we found about an inch of standing water in the basement. As we investigated further, we found a veritable…


What is the life expectancy of Via®?

Back in the last century, in my package goods days, I worked on the Taster's Choice brand, where I had the pleasure of trying to convince people that instant coffee Now, let's talk a little bit about Taster's Choice. If ever there was an instant worth drinking, it was Taster's Choice Meragor Bold. Nestle dispatched bean buyers into the high plantations of South America, with some very specific standards-high altitude, shade grown, specific soil acidity, specific time in season...blah, blah, blah. These guys were serious (like nuts) about beans. They had mobile cupping stations, where they would roast a…


What's in a name?

We've been talking a lot lately about brand names. The question is, what difference does a name make in the future of a brand? Not an easy question to answer, but a good question to consider. At one end of the spectrum, there are genius names, names that are unique in sound and meaning. Lean Cuisine springs to mind. A brand name that trips off the tongue, while telegraphing what the product is about. It's good tasting food (cuisine-somehow everything tastes better, when said in French), and it's low calorie (lean). Plus, it rhymes. This is a rock star of…


Zucchini Soup!

Our friend Audrey asked for some yummy recipes to start her married life with. So, here you go, sister. Enjoy.Zucchinis are like rabbits. You plant one, you get a zillion. So it's always good to have some recipes for them. Let's face it, your gardening friends are going to give you zucchinis. So, here's a zucchini soup recipe some missionary friends gave us, that tastes like asparagus soup. You take two pounds of zucchini (about four zucchinis)...slice off some of the skin (just like rough them up, don't really slice them)...chop them into quarters...put them in a pan, covered with…


Gourmet Hay.

We had French Canadian guests at church yesterday. But I'll get back to that. Anne and I decided to take the day off on Friday. It was a half-day (an office schedule experiment we started a couple of years ago, that has been a great success-maybe I'll blog about it some time), and we had a half vacation day coming, so we just took the day. We ran some errands in the morning, and then, we pointed the Prius north toward Tryon, where some friends were camped out for the day at an art show | craft show | horse…


Tweets and mortar.

My college poetry professor, Paul Nelson, always asked, "What's the objective correlative." He was a sort of a concrete imagist. So he was always trying to get us to write about things in terms of other things. Abstract things in terms of concrete things. Ideas in terms of things. He wrote a lot about cars and bar fights and fishing gear. But (so he said) he was really writing about relationships and passions and know, man's inhumanity to man. Stuff like that. And example he might have given (and maybe he actually did give this one) was that the…


Random things to know about editing video.

I was talking to a guy up in Virginia this afternoon about a possible video project. As we were talking, I began to remember some things I've learned over the years from Steve Czajaikowski, Bruce Mitchell, and others. Little tricks, really. 1. Edit to the music, not to the voice over. There are two kinds of people (well maybe three): auditory, visual, (and maybe verbal). Art school art directors and video editors tend to be visual. Agency writers, account people, and client-side marketing people tend to be verbal or quantitative (okay that's four...just work with me here). A visual person…


Why do I hit myself with a hammer?

Because it feels so good when I stop. The economy is reminding me of this old joke today. We still have more than 6 million people unemployed. And we still have a huge number of upside down mortgages. And we still have anemic home sales and depressed home prices. But the news is not as bad as it used to be. So, the market sees it as good news. We're up almost 2 percent, and it's not even noon. What will happen when we take the needles out of our eyes? Now that will be a boom!



The first time I went off the high dive at the Martins Ferry public pool, it took a few tries. Got in line. Climbed the ladder. Walked out onto the springboard. Looked down at the water (actually, I think I was looking at the bottom). Got butterflies. Turned around, made everyone get off the ladder, and went back down. Lifeguard asked me what the problem was. I could swim. I could hold my breath. I had made dives off the low board and the side of the pool many times. So, what was the problem? I was skeert (there doesn't…


Rugs rock!

We were in High Point last week, visiting an Oriental rug manufacturer. We learned a lot about the rug business. It's interesting that they have some things in common with us-intellectual property. Seems that they have to be creating new designs constantly. Rather than launching a new line every year or every other year, they just launch them as they need to. Goes like this...They launch a new design, complete with design variations to accommodate all the various rug sizes. They sell that design, until they see the same (or a very similar) design in some other manufacturer's line. Then…


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