Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My year in music



This first song stands for the first 5 months of the year: It felt new, we saw Santogold at Coachella in April, the world was a very happy place for us: Astrid started pre-school, Rose a new career, I was planning my next chapter.

Then life happened. Or better, death. Both of my parents died within a few months. I travelled to Germany three times for a funeral, to see my mother for the last time and to find some closure. Surprisingly, my father's death hit me harder. As a mother's boy, I expected the opposite but sometimes we don't know ourselves that well.



A weird choice? Absolutely. After I saw my mother for the last time, I visited a dear friend in Hamburg, his kids were carrying around small speakers from McDonalds with this song on. Listening to it reminds me of these few months where old, scarred wounds were opened and I just felt raw. Observing my kid playing with his kid gave me a lot of hope and the necessary strength to deal with whatever was thrown my way.

Shortly after that, the economy tanked. I was in New York a few times during Lehman's bankruptcy, saw people leaving offices with boxes and plants in their hand, felt the despair in the air. And while everybody was frozen in fear, I started to feel hope. Sure, the Obama election helped. But, it was more of a personal feeling. Hope that out of the bad will come something really good. Something amazing. Something new. I don't really know yet what it will be but I'm confident about the future. Sure, 2009 will be a tough year but it's our job to seize opportunities: Opportunities to become closer with our family and friends. Opportunities to be helpful and add value to people's lives. Opportunity to make this world a better place. As Obama said: "This is the time." 2009 is here. Let's make it count.



A few more tidbits:

- Best movie I saw this year: Slumdog Millionaire
- Best performance: Richard Jenkins in The Visitor. Such a subtle performance, showing how one single person can change one's destiny. The last scene when contemplates about what could have been and takes it from there to make it his own is just brilliant.
- Biggest physical achievement: Dropping my waistline from 34 to 31
- Biggest personal achievement: Staying sane
- Best concert: The Police at the Hollywood Bowl. They finally delivered what they promised when they reunited.
- Best meal: Birthday surprise at Sona.
- Best purchase: A puzzle book that kept Astrid entertained for hours while traveling the world with her.
- Best book: Lush Life
- Best TV moment: 8pm PT, November 4th. Enough said.

Time to take in the last few moments of 2008. And create new memories.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why I love to travel



It gives me perspective. About the events shaping our lives. About the things that seem so important at home and ridiculous a thousand miles away. When I travel, I step away from myself and take a fresh look around. It's good for your mind; it opens you up to new experiences. The goal is to keep that openness around as long as you can. Even after 10 hours in the office and 2 hours on the freeway.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My favorite Christmas moments



- When I was around 6 years old, I was asking Santa Claus to bring me a train set. When we unwrapped our presents, I realized that there was no big package for me and there would be no train set. It took all my strength not show my disappointment or even start crying. My father asked me if I could get him a bottle of wine. While walking to the kitchen, I heard the faint sound of a train zipping around in circles. Yup, my father had fooled me. I can still smell and feel the heat of the train and how much fun I had with it.

- Going to midnight mass in the snow (happened just a few times) and walking through the quiet and empty city at 1 am.

- Going to the library and leasing the biggest books they had (War and Peace, Ulysses) and actually reading them.

- Extension of a Christmas holiday due to an ice storm. We couldn't go outside for days, there were inches of ice and people were breaking bones left and right.

- Stollen!

- Hearing my father's bad imitation of a Santa Claus voice, asking my mother: "How did the kids behave this year?" And, even as a teenager, awaiting the answer with anxiety.

- Reading Herman Hesse's 'The Glass Bead Game' at the age of 12, not understanding everything but comprehending I read something really amazing.

- Wir warten auf's Christkind (We're waiting for Santa Claus), a TV show that ran around 3pm on Christmas Eve, especially designed for kids impatience awaiting the presents. (In Germany gifts are opened on Christmas Eve.)

- The lights.

- The worst Christmas record ever: Slow, boring and so perfect for Christmas Eve.

These are just some memories that I came up with while waiting for my wife and kid to come home. Just to create more memories. I hope yours will be very positive this year. We all deserve it.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

That's how it's done



It's sad to post a last farewell to laid-off employees as something positive one day before Christmas. But I wanted to share this because Charlie Rose, classy as always, shows everybody how to treat departing employees with respect and dignity. Every manager should learn from him.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best Movie Opening



I saw this movie by myself at a midnight screening in a small place in Hamburg. It was one of those little theaters on the Reeperbahn (Red Light District) at a time when you could still smoke and drink in certain establishments in Hamburg. It's a rather annoying place to watch a movie, people come and go, talk and make stupid remarks and the smoke is just everywhere. But once I saw this opening, I was hooked and watched the rest of the movie without even knowing where I was.

What's your favorite movie opening? Here are a few choices

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dramatic changes



We tend to believe that changes happen slowly: growing up, mature, aging. Slow and steady seems to be the typical pattern but real-life events tend to challenge our assumption. Early this year, we didn't know that Wall Street would never be the same, that a young challenger would win the US presidency in a landslide and that we're moving again into a polarized world with the East battling the West.

Reminds me of West-German politicians sincerely communicating the durability of the German Wall for the next 1,000 years, just to see it fall a few days later. Reality is, we have problems understanding change. The complexity involved in major changes is too much for our human brain to grasp and understand. We hear many people say that things will never be the same after the failure of Lehman. Do we really mean it or do we just say it because it seems so complex and so hard to understand that we proclaim these changes without understanding them?

When the credit crunch was at its height, consumers heard about the problem but continued with their buying behavior because they didn't understand the implications. Once Paulson and the Bush administration played the dramatic fear card, everything came to a halt. Go to a mall now and you'll be often by yourself. It might not be a rational response to the crisis but who said human beings were rational?

Friday, December 12, 2008

This year's viral campaign?



Nice idea by Disney: Create a video, let people customize it and let it spread by offering embedding in your site or blog. Since one of my client's (Fleming's Steakhouse) new restaurant just opened in downtown LA, I thought they deserve their own video.

Monday, December 8, 2008

When life is slowing down

Thanksgiving I burnt myself: When I took the turkey out of the stove, the aluminum pan folded under the weight of the turkey and the juices splattered all over me. My left knee and foot and, more importantly, my right foot were burnt. The right foot was badly burnt, so bad that 11 days later I'm still limping and the pain is always present. I can't stand for a long time, need my right foot elevated or at least level all day. These minor inconveniences change your life: Suddenly a 5 mile run is an unattainable goal. Getting up in the morning takes 10 minutes more because of the impending pain, you stay longer in the bed, frightfully expecting the pain when you start moving. Little things like walking to coffee shop or entering a mall become major adventures. Everything just becomes a little bit harder, a little bit more arduous.

And, then you slow down. And you make choices: Do I really need to stop at the grocery store? Do I need the second coffee from Starbucks? Do I really need to run to this meeting or can I skip it? And, suddenly, you start to focus better. You take the time to read a book. You watch that movie you always wanted to see. You lay in bed just thinking. 

It's basically the body taking control of your existence. Just like when you have a cold or any injuries: the body has needs and it will take whatever it needs to ensure healing. Makes you think about the body-mind connection and how we are normally controlled by the mind. Just in emergency situations do we allow the body to take charge. 

Ironically, it's good for your mind as well. Too often do we forget to be grateful for what we have. To be able to run 5 miles, to be able to walk around without effort and enjoy the surroundings, to be able to wake up in the morning and jump right into to life - that's an incredible gift. I guess living through these experiences gets us ready for old age: Life will still be grand but things take a bit more time and effort. 

I can't wait. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cheech and Chong Stock Indicator



Minyanville just published a fascinating piece, explaining that the popularity of Cheech and Chong is inversely correlated to the movement of the United States stock market. Or as Minyanville says 'the more popular Cheech & Chong are, the less popular stocks are.'

Cheech and Chong Reunion Tour tickets went on sale 8/8/2008 and the resurgence in pot humor has been devastating for stocks: Down by 37%.















The article closes: "After a mind-numbing move of that magnitude, I would love to say that the Cheech & Chong indicator is finally forecasting a bottom for stocks. But no. These guys keep adding dates! They've got a concert film in the works. Creeping Jesus, they were actually roasted on television last Sunday night by Martha Stewart and Wilmer Valderrama! Where will it end?

With concert dates scheduled through at least February 2009, the Cheech & Chong Stock Market Indicator is telling us the end of this bear market is at least several months away."

So, please: put the bong away, throw away the joint and tear up your Reunion tickets. It's time to get serious and stop the bleeding on Wall and Main Street. Think about it: When Tommy Chong was in prison, the Dow Jones was around 10,000. How would you and your 401k like that right now? We should start an immediate investigation how those two stoners are rigging the markets. Treason charges should be looked into. Enough is enough.

Friday, November 28, 2008

One day we're gonna live in Paris



One day we're gonna live in Paris
I promise
I'm on it
When I'm bringing in the money
I promise
I'm on it
I'm gonna take you out to club showcase
We're gonna live it up
I promise
Just hold on a little more

This song just hits a nerve. Always wanted to live in Paris. I mean, really live there. Remembering our Monster Europe Trip (8 countries in 2 weeks), the one place I always come back to is Paris. Just so lovely to have a quick coffee/drink at a bistro, getting your cheese and bread at a local store. While, at the same time, you can eat at the best restaurants in this world.
We tend to spend a lot of time in Amsterdam and look back on Berlin, remembering an amazing experience. But Paris is just something that sticks closely to my heart.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday. No expectations. Just good food. And drinks. Time spent with the family. It almost feels like paradise. Or a slice of it.

This has been a tough year, in many regards. For everybody who follows me on the blog, you understand. But I never forgot how grateful I am for everything I was able to experience and share with my family and friends. We all came out stronger on the other side. So, for everybody who shared this year with me: Thank you.

And for everybody else that helped others, smiled when things were tough, dedicated your life to other people: I don't even know what to say. Except a heartfelt Thank you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New York, New York

New York Cab 3 by duhcati.



A few things I learned on my last business trip to New York:

- The recession is bad when the cab driver gets excited about the authorization of my credit card.

- Tropical Thunder is a very funny movie.

- When you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t check your email. You might not get back to sleep again.

- I love JetBlue and Virgin America but it’s such a relief not being able to watch the stock ticker or CNBC. Instead, catching up on my New Yorker’s and books.

- Does Starbucks own Manhattan? New Yorker’s need a caffeine intervention.

- Why are remote controls in hotels always out of juice? Does nobody bother to replace them?

- In addition to shampoo, conditioner and lotion, hotels should supply toothpaste as well.

- A swimming pool in the lobby is cool. But there’s a reason this hotel changed ownership twice in the last year.

- No matter how important your business trip is, how much you’re going to change the world: Always talk to the cab drivers. They are the heart and soul of each city.

- There’s so much to do. So much to see. So much to experience . Life is just too short. Way too short.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Trust











Besides the fact that Henry Paulson is an awful speaker (How was he the CEO of Goldman Sachs? What does it say about that company?), he violated the basic principles of trust: Reciprocity and Transparency.

Reciprocity: We wanted Mr. Paulson to speak to us about the immense economic challenge in the language we are most comfortable with. Yes, we know that he has his own agenda and the public has problems understanding the severity and depth of the current economic crisis. However, he should have communicated to us as if he wanted to help the public through the crisis, thereby allowing the public to give him real support and instill the desire in us for him to succeed. We know that he was an utter failure in that regard. The whole language of bailout and Wall Street and Main Street was just such PR disaster, tons of books will be published just about these few days in October.

Even with this bad start and the US public completely distrusting the Bush administration, the majority of US citizen felt no choice other than trusting Henry Paulson. A bad speaker, a bad PR person, a bad communicator. But we felt he tried to do the best job. He tried to use all his knowledge, all the experts he could talk to, all his resources to get us out of this mess. And he came up with a plan. Flawed, sure. But a plan that worked its way through the public, the Congress and we accepted it. But while we were still digesting the enormity of this package, he switched gears. Changed the plan. And he didn't tell anybody about it. Just his cronies. And that's where transparency comes in.

Transparency is a means of building trust. Transparency is based on 'Show, don't tell." Yes, he told the story bad but now we wanted to see the execution of the plan. And we heard that the execution of the plan is confidential, and, by the way, the whole plan had changed. We took his word for it in October and now we wanted to judge ourselves if the plan was working. Instead, he changed his plan in secrecy and now his word means nothing anymore. I'm not here to judge if it was dishonest. It certainly undermined our trust. Or even destroyed it. And that's the at the core of this crisis: Lack of confidence and trust. He made it even worse. Maybe the best intentions.

As Albert Camus said: "The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Do you miss Circuit City?















So, Circuit City is toast. And the public doesn't seem to care. I typed in Circuit City in search.twitter.com and most comments are negative, reminding others of the layoffs of 3,400 'overpaid employees' (just followed by the golden parachute of its outgoing CFO), asking for the future of their extended warranties and overall complaining about Circuit City as a brand with sub-standard service:

"No one ever waited on me when I went to Circuit City. I'd just walk around and leave."
"Why are they even still around? I have a pretty long list of useless retail stores. They're on it."
"The sales people seemed to eager."
"Dear Circuit City, I never loved you. You never made me happy. Now I'm leaving you by the side of the road (at a strip mall)."

Just like many other electronic retailers, Circuit City was a company that never considered service as part of their core offerings. The advent of the Internet made these stores almost obsolete, maybe with the exception of big ticket items like flat screens and dishwashers. Laying off the majority of their overpaid (meaning: most qualified) employees dramatically increased this severe lack of professional service and focused the company on car dealer like sales techniques.

When you reduce your competitive advantage to 5% off and other direct sales approaches, you reduce your business to a flea market. A flea market filled with deals and no-name vendors that have no storefronts, no fancy advertising, just Google on their side.

I feel bad for all the employees and vendors owed money by Circuit City (HP and Samsung are owed more than $100 million each.) The layoff of 3,400 seasoned employees should have given you an indication of things to come. Cutting to the bone might have been a good thing in the 80's when companies had huge bureaucracies. We've been living in lean times for a while and cutting the juiciest parts out is a sure sign of a company in distress and close to failure.


Friday, November 7, 2008

White House 2.0



















Image by Asger Carlsen

Adam Cahill, SVP/General Manager at Carat Boston, writes a brilliant piece in today's Ad Age about Obama's Social Media approach and how he should extend it to his presidency. 

In this current fear climate, a President's main job is to calm the public down and get us focused on the task at hand. There's no need to panic but there's a huge need for hard work, innovative thinking and, dare I say it, community building. This crisis needs more than a partisan solution, it needs everybody be involved, everybody to participate. A Wiki approach to government might sound far-fetched (Do I hear Red Tape, Socialism and Craziness?) but in these times when the government has to basically buy banks, the biggest insurance company and is on the verge of buying up GM and/or Ford, we should ask ourselves: Don't we need lofty goals? Lofty ideas? New thinking? 

And, just to be clear: Let's stay away from the poll-driven politics a la Clinton. But let's come together as a nation and discuss seriously how to get this country back on track. Roosevelt's fireside chats were then. White House 2.0 should be now.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes, it was a good evening

Barack Obama Hope Sticker by PEEL.

And we're living in a new country.
Yes, we did.

Today is the day



I admit it: I'm a political junkie. Days like today are like the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA final combined. I've been a political junkie all my life. One of my heroes is a politician, I was even partly named after a statesman.

Growing up, election day was always an important day. Elections take place on Sundays in Germany and it felt like a really nice ritual to accompany my parents in our best clothes to the voting booth. Around 5pm we gathered around the TV with a cup of coffee and cake, waiting for the polls to close and the first results to come in at 6pm. (It helps to live in a country without time zones.) Being a Social Democrat, there were bad days and there were really good days. But election days and the fallout always gave me this feeling of the natural changes in life: There are good days. And there are bad days. Days when you're on the victorious side, days when you're on the losing side.

This is the first election since 1990 (the first election after the Reunification) where I feel very enthusiastic and excited about going to the polls. And I feel this excitement everywhere I go: in the coffee shop this morning, in the faces of people standing in line. There's a deep-rooted sense that America has lost its ways and we can take this country back today and start on a new course. With a new crew. A new captain. And a public that stands behind this exciting endeavor.

Yes, I'm a US citizen now. We don't vote on Sundays, we vote on a Tuesday. But it's still this amazing feeling that we, the people have it in our hands to change. To improve. To be better. It's going to be a good day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween



















Firefighters save lives and hearts. This little firefighter kept us safe from ghosts and monsters.

Friday, October 31, 2008

We're almost there










Elections are about ideas and connections: Connecting ideas with people. Connecting ideas with people's problems. Even staunch Republicans must admit that Obama did a much better job understanding the current psyche of Americans and connecting them with his ideas. I wish him well for his presidency (Yeah, I know this is written 4 days before the results will be published but I don't have any doubts about the outcome. None.) and I hope he continues to show sober and informed judgement when dealing with issues and doesn't succumb to ideology.

While Obama will have his hands full, I hope the Republicans will take a long break and reflect upon their current situation and where they're trying to take the party, and, ultimately, the country. Republicans used to stand for defending and maximizing freedom.

Just like the word liberal shouldn't have any negative connotations (to liberate), the word conservative shouldn't be a negative word (to conserve). Conservatism has mutated into an ugly display of slogans, petty social causes and being against something, instead of being for something. (That's why the Kerry campaign ultimately failed: He stood for nothing, except not being Bush.) I hope the Republicans re-discover their Goldwater roots and, once again, stand very soon for minimal government, fiscal responsibility and personal freedom. Add to that list conserving our planet.

The country needs the real Republicans back.

Monday, October 27, 2008

GM/Chrysler Merger


So, here we are: the Big 3 turned into the Detroit 3 last year and it's very likely that within the next few days we have to get used to the Detroit 2. But, should be there a Detroit 2 or just Ford?

It's almost impossible for me to understand the attraction for GM to merge with Chrysler: Both have a comparable product line, too many truck factories, Chrysler's 3,500 strong dealer network and Chrysler doesn't have any exciting product launches in the pipeline. The proposed merger is just a scheme by GM to survive the foreseeable future because Chrysler has $11 billion in cash, while GM has around $20 billion and burning monthly through $1 billion. The deal would allow GM to stick around longer and hope for a changing environment, another 'Too big to fail bailout' and more leverage when dealing with the administration.

While the banking system is at the heart of our capitalistic world, car makers are not. Yes, they provide millions of jobs but the world as we know it won't end if GM fails. Ultimately, it might be best if GM would just file for bankruptcy and start over again as a much smaller and more focused company. A merger will prolong the pain. I wish the administration would send out DNR orders to GM to let them know that they are on their own. Either continue your shell game with a merger or start radical cuts immediately. To build a sustainable business for decades to come. But, I guess, I'm just dreaming.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Law sometimes leaves little room for compassion

Jimmy Wheeler, 84, is out on bail. The charge? Attempting to kill his wife.

I stopped by his daughter's house in Carpinteria and he greeted me at the front door, ready to talk about what he intended as an act of mercy.

Wheeler shook my hand and led me to the dining room table. A pleasant smile was fixed on his tanned, lined face, but he was dabbing at his eyes.

And then he lost it on the first question.

I asked how he met his wife, Betty, whom he calls Beckie. He sobbed, his chest heaved and then he began his story. They were students at UCLA, he said, his memories still fresh. He never saw her on campus, though. The first time he laid eyes on her was at the beach in Santa Monica.

She was with friends, but they were invisible to Jimmy.

"She was cute, she was smart, she was happy," he said. "And she had a nice shape."

Wheeler drove a Model A station wagon painted UCLA blue and gold, and Beckie agreed to ride back to campus with this lanky young poli-sci major. He looked a little like Jimmy Stewart, with piercing blue eyes.

They were married two years later, at the height of World War II. Soon he was off to fly bombing missions over Europe. After the war, he finished school at Oregon State and got a graduate degree from Stanford. Jimmy then found work as a petroleum engineer, and he and Beckie raised a son and daughter in Carpinteria.

This is a love story, of course. The attempted murder notwithstanding.

It's a story many of us find familiar in one way or another, particularly we boomers with ailing parents. I couldn't stop thinking about -- and talking about -- my own parents as Mr. Wheeler and I chatted.

A hundred times in the last year, my siblings and I have wondered whether we're intruding too much, or not enough, into our parents' lives. Is it time to insist on home care? Should we insist it's time to surrender driver's licenses?

We're much better at the questions than the answers.

Wheeler and his wife have been married 64 years, and they've enjoyed what he called "a wonderful life." But Beckie, 85, has Alzheimer's.

Jimmy Wheeler took good care of his wife, stealing all that he could from what was left of normal. They kept traveling, one of their great joys, until her illness made that impossible. Until quite recently, he and Beckie could be seen walking down the street to the beach, holding hands like young lovers.

But Beckie was fading into solitude, the world around her a growing mystery, and then finally Jimmy was a stranger to her.

"She wakes up in the morning and doesn't know who the guy in bed with her is," Wheeler told me with wet eyes, capturing perfectly the horror of watching a loved one disappear into a fog.

In a way it's crueler than death itself, because there's no moving on for the survivor. There is only this ghost, a constant reflection of love and loss.

"Are you OK?" Jimmy's son-in-law, Stan Scrivner, asked him one morning when he came to the door in obvious distress.

"No," Wheeler said. "Beckie's gone."

Scrivner asked what he meant.

"She's gone," Wheeler repeated. "She doesn't recognize me anymore."

Wheeler couldn't bear to see her like that, and eventually he came up with a plan.

"She said she wanted to be with Jesus," he said. "I just wanted to be with her."

Although he has pleaded not guilty, the basic details of what happened next aren't in dispute.

One night earlier this month, he turned on the gas burners in the house, according to authorities.

"It was Romeo and Juliet," Scrivner said.

Except that it didn't work.

Plan B, authorities said, was to run a hose through a window and into the house from the exhaust pipe on Wheeler's '99 Olds.

Wheeler wrote a suicide note and included instructions for cremation of the bodies. He left a check to cover the cost. He advised loved ones on how to handle his estate, says his attorney Steve Balash, cautioning them to be careful about probate lawyers who charge too much.

The exhaust might have done the trick, but a neighbor saw what was up and called police. Jimmy Wheeler ended up behind bars, charged with attempted murder and elder abuse. He slept on a mattress on the floor of the overcrowded Santa Barbara County Jail.

A county prosecutor called Wheeler a threat to himself, his wife and the neighborhood. Superior Court Judge George Eskin listened to that argument but at a recent bail hearing he said the case called for "compassion and understanding."

"I am aware of the tragedy of Alzheimer's," Eskin told me by phone. He noted that unlike other countries and the state of Oregon, California has not embraced legalized options -- including assisted suicide -- for people nearing the end.

Eskin allowed Wheeler's release on $100,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing Oct. 8, and ordered him to be supervised and undergo grief counseling.

"He's not going to do her in," Eskin reasoned, so the judge's emphasis was on making sure Wheeler gets help to see if "he can find the strength to go on."

Even if California had passed a death with dignity bill (the bill has failed three times, with strong opposition from doctors and organized religion), the Wheeler scenario wouldn't have come into play. The proposed bill, patterned after the one in Oregon, would have required a terminally ill patient to be of sound mind and to self-administer the lethal drug. Alzheimer's is not considered a terminal illness, and Beckie was in no shape to make the decision to end her life.

"Somehow they have to figure out how to create a new area of law that's about compassion and mercy," said Jeff Wheeler, Jimmy and Beckie's son.

With good reason, he finds it incomprehensible that his father is being treated like a common criminal, prosecuted the same way as, say, a spurned boyfriend who gets a revolver and goes gunning for his girlfriend's new love interest.

After three swings and misses, Assembly members Lloyd Levine and Patty Berg have given up on a death with dignity bill in California. But they now have one before the governor that would require doctors to give terminally ill patients information on all their options, including hospice care and sedation.

Let's hope Gov. Schwarzenegger signs it. But still, it would be a far cry from what they've got in Oregon, and Californians might go on using bridges, guns, toxic cocktails and underground suicide options. Or they might make botched and bungled attempts like Jimmy Wheeler's.

Kathryn Tucker, a lawyer with Compassion & Choices, says that patients in Oregon can sign an "advance directive" stipulating that in cases of progressive dementia, they would want no steps taken to keep them alive.

Here in California, we've got the prospect of an 84-year-old grandfather going to jail if a jury finds that he tried to lie down beside his wife and die with her. Sure, you could argue he had no right to decide for his wife whether she should go on living. But prosecuting him aggressively and sending him to prison would be a miscarriage of justice and a waste of tax dollars.

"I'm trying not to think about that possibility," Wheeler told me.

I asked if he had considered taking his wife to a nursing home -- she's in one now -- instead of trying to die at her side.

"My sister is in one of those convalescent homes," Wheeler said. "Those people are just passing the time of day, not knowing what's going on. That's no kind of life."

And what would he want to happen to him, I wondered, if he were as sick as his wife?

"I'd want to be gone," Jimmy Wheeler said.

I understand completely.

If I ever get to where I don't recognize the people I care about, I wouldn't want to hang around. And I'd be grateful to any friend or family member who helps me move on.

I'd consider it an act of love.
...

From today's LA Times

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Moving on


I've been 6 years with Genex and this Wednesday was my last day. An opportunity to spread my wings, get intellectually challenged and form new relationships. I'm excited.

Thanks to Krink for the image.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lori Roode 1933-2008


Yep, that's me. Don't laugh. I know, I know, not a cool Calvin Klein outfit. But, when you're six, you don't have that many choices. And not a lot of say in the clothes you're supposed to wear.

Looking at this picture makes me very sad. No, it's not the haircut. It's the feeling of a lost opportunity. The sadness of something that could have been. But never was. When this picture was taken, I might have been as close to my mother as I've ever been. I read her Astrid Lindgren's 'Children of Bullerbu' each and every day while she was preparing lunch. And she enjoyed being with me. For once.

You have to understand, my mother was a tortured soul. She had to deal with bipolar disorder and all the medication the 70's, 80's and 90's provided her. In industrial sizes. In any shape. Or form. Or strength.
In exchange, our family had to suffer with her. Through crisis after crisis after crisis. And we all felt imprisoned, tortured and sad. I responded through rebellion, didn't speak to both of my parents for decades, denied their existence.

Having a kid and her being severely sick for the last year, made me reconsider. And I'm glad I did. I'm glad she saw her second grand daughter, was able to enjoy her. I'm glad she was able to meet my beloved wife. And I'm glad I could hold her hand and give her some kind of emotional support in her darkest times.

My mother died this Sunday. I'm glad she didn't have to suffer any longer. It's a cliche, but she's in a better place right now. Her life in the last few weeks was just pure torture. I wish I could make it out to the funeral but, on the other hand, I'm glad I was able to have Astrid and myself to be with her before she passed away. I hope I gave her just a glimpse of our presence and it made her feel a little bit better leaving this world.

It's very sad when both of your parents die within 2 months. No matter how close you are. It's a big blow. Something I've problems dealing with.

But, real sadness creeps up when I look at this picture. Thinking about what could have been. What we could have had. How much love there could have been shared. How much more love and joy we could have brought to this world.

She will be buried this Friday. My heart will be with her during that hour. I hope she finds the peace she was looking for all her life. She deserves it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In case you were wondering...


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We said goodbye to my mother, hoping for her suffering to end soon. We spent some time with my father at his grave and felt a strange connection between him and Astrid. She just loved being there (We went to the grave 3 times) and checking out the lovely hearts, windmills, ladybugs that decorate his beautiful grave. We connected with family, saw strong connections there. We tried to help family through despair upon hearing that one of our closest family members is battling inoperable cancer. We laughed with friends. Made new friends. Spoke a lot of German with each other. Tried to make each other comfortable and happy. While being parent and daughter at the same time. We fed goats. Walked through my old world. Experienced the first summer rain of her life. Missed mom, wife, best friend etc. desperately (While she worked herself to death at home)

Basically, we helped each other through these very strange and intense times. While my heart is still heavy, my mind cleared up. Traveling does that to you. And it made me ready for new challenges. Change is imminent. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

That's why I started out as a copywriter


A stroke of the pen can change perceptions.

Fourth annual Short Film Online Competition - Cannes 2008.

Director : Alonso Alvarez Barreda
Running Time : 04:50
Year : 2007
Country : Mexico/ U.S.A
Category : Short film

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ready to take on the world


I had to travel to Europe one more time for an emergency. This time I took my fellow road warrior and precious daughter with me. Yes, we look super tired and it's a challenge to maneuver through the world with a 3-year old, 2 suitcases and a gazillion small bags. But I feel privileged to be with her for almost 2 weeks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It will affect your life



1 in every 2 male Americans will get cancer. 1 in every 3 American females. Cancer is an under-researched illness and we need to increase our efforts to eliminate this disease. It has killed dear members of my friend tribe and family.

Do me a favor and watch this video. Jimmy Valvano was a coach for Rutgers and an ESPN basketball commentator. He was diagnosed with cancer and 2 months before he died, he received the Arthur Ashe award at the ESPY show in 1993. Supported by ESPN, the V Foundation was founded on the day of the speech and is getting stronger and more impactful each day. If you have a dime to spare, donate.

Don't forget: Cancer will affect your life. That's guaranteed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Book Diet


The week went too fast, we had some problem with the food in our destination and caught up on sleep. And we had a lot of time to read. Netherland and While they slept confronted me with a few episodes and overall situation during my childhood. Lush Life took a long time to get off the ground but I loved the dialogue and overall pacing.

It felt good to catch up with all the New Yorkers, Atlantic and magazines I never seem time to find to read. And, more importantly, it was good to catch up with some thoughts. And reflect.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gone fishing

Our little family is taking a trip: A lot of flying, a lot of rest, a few good books, good drinks and food. Hopefully new experiences and a lot to report.

Be back soon.

Friday, June 27, 2008

And now to something completely different



Hilarious and worth the 10 minutes.

(My question: Why do get IT guys such a bad rap? I guess it's because 99.9% don't really understand what they are doing. And when we don't understand the trade/prices/challenges of another trade, we tend to feel they're cheating us/are lazy/not worthy. Just like the plumber that charges you $500 for something that takes him 10 minutes. But that's another topic.)

Hope you get a laughter or two out of this one.

Friday, June 20, 2008

How much Bocholt is left in me?

I was born in Bocholt, a small town close to the Dutch border. Frankly, during my teens I realized how much I didn't like living there. I think it was more the circumstances that made me dislike Bocholt. It's a town with a lot of green, very bike- and kid-friendly. But I always felt under siege in this town.

When I visited a few weeks back, I took this shot at 1pm on a Wednesday. All cars parked in order, almost no humans around. Mind you, this is a street close to the town center...


I went to my father's favorite Yugoslavian restaurant and ate a mixed grill plate. 5 pieces of meat piled on top of Rice Pilaf. And I though TGI Friday's had huge portions. I barely ate 1/3 of the meat. But the beer was good.


A window in the restaurant stating: "There's no place better than Bocholt." When we took bus tours with our school or went on summer camps, we always sang a similar song, claiming Bocholt to be the best city in the world. And I always thought: "Is that really true? How depressing."



The small river running through Bocholt, called Aa. No, not AA, just Aa. Don't ask me why they would name a river like a plumber who wants to be first in the Yellow Pages. Many evenings were spent staring at the river. Can I swim out of here?


My elementary school is in the background. I was baptized as a Lutheran, a minority in Bocholt. The school to the right was Catholic. We started religious wars when we were 6. Even though we were in the minority, our Protestant brotherhood lead to many bloody victories. Don't ask me why. I guess just a wish to be different.


That's the view from the balcony of my father's last apartment. Bocholt doesn't have a lot of buildings with these views. You can see the water tower in the distance and some churches. I'm glad he had a way of looking out in the sky. Feels liberating.


The old city hall with the Europe fountain next to it. Originall built in 1618 and restored right before the Nazis took charge. Behind the fountain is one of the best Italian Ice Cream parlors. Or so I felt when I was 6. I didn't taste their offerings a few weeks back.


While walking through Bocholt, I was asking myself: How much of Bocholt is in me and how much did I leave behind? Is it worth continue trying?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fritz Roode - 1930-2008


Lieber Vati,
when I heard about your sudden death thousands of miles away, I knew immediately I had to pay you the respect you deserve by being part of your final journey. Yes, we haven't seen each other for more than a decade but deep down inside I knew I had to be there for you for the last time, together with your family and friends.

Maybe it's because you were there when I entered this world, held me, took care of me, were the best father you can be. Or maybe it's because I just felt both of us needed some kind of closure to move on to wherever destination we're going from here.


That we didn't speak for so long is nobody's fault. We both did our best. Your job as a father and my job as a son was to develop this little bundle of joy you held on his first day into a responsible, loving adult. This can be done in numerous ways. Unfortunately, I had to do it on my own, had to move away and take care of things without anybody's help. I know I hurt your feelings by doing it this way but, frankly, I had no choice. The challenges that our family had to face when I grew up were so serious that I had to take charge of my own life and make sure to become the best I can be.

This doesn't diminish anything you accomplished as a proud father: You instilled in me a strong work ethic, took Monday afternoons off to teach me swimming (just to make up the work hours at night), you were there at all my soccer games, always cheering me on. And, most importantly, you always answered the call: starting a family with nothing, getting an education after 12-hour days at the factory and you were always cracking a joke in the worst circumstances. Trying to make the best out of bad situations.


Vati, I hope you understand that I always respected you and were proud of your achievements. In your professional and personal life. And you should be proud that you helped myself becoming a happy person with a fulfilling work life, a happy marriage and an amazing kid. I regret that you never met these two most important people in my life. You would have loved both of them with all your heart and it would have been such a joy for you to play with Astrid and trick her, just like you tricked and amused me when I was a kid.

My heart was aching when I followed the coffin with all your family and friends to the last resting point. You deserved an easier life, a life filled with contentment. And I wish I could have done anything to make it easier for you. But fighting was always your strongest principle and you might not have wanted anything else than a fighters life. Walking with you on your last journey, I stopped wishing for a better life and started appreciating the life you had. And the joy you spread to others.

And when the funeral was over and everybody headed to the restaurant, I snuck out and bought two coffees at Tchibo, one of your favorite places in the world, and returned to your graveside to have a last coffee and chat together.


And while we were having a coffee, I finally could forgive you. More than that, I understood where you were coming from and just felt love for you. I felt our souls connected for the first time in a long time and I hope this gave your soul more peace and helped you with your final send-off.

Vati, you might not know it, but today is Father's Day in the US. Now it's my job to help my kid to become a loving, responsible person. To teach her swimming, be there for her whenever she needs me, be the best father I can be. It's going to be a lot of work. And a lot of fun.

You did your job. You worked hard all your life. You deserve to leave this world and rest for a while. You must be tired.

No worries, we'll take care of things. You don't have to fight anymore, we'll take the fight from here. Just know that I love you. And miss you.

I hope you understand.

Uwe

Lost in Amsterdam


After flying for 15 hours, I finally arrived in Amsterdam. Saw in shock the exchange rate: 165 Euros for $300. The first time Rose and I went to Europe almost 7 years ago the exchange rate was almost reversed.
Found my hotel, took a quick shower and headed out. A beautiful day filled with orange soccer fanatics, coffeeshops and bars that serve pancakes. Most of the evening was filled walking around the city, just trying to get my bearings and adjust to the news I'm still digesting. In the end, I just felt lost. Thank God it was in Amsterdam.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Little update

I forgot the cable for my digital camera, so no images until Sunday. I'm in my hometown Bocholt now, feeling like an actor in the Twilight Zone. Almost nothing has changed here, the little corners that I used to hang out as a kid are still there, the snack shack with chicken and fries.

I moved away from here more than 20 years ago and time has stood still. I see names in telephone books that I recognize and I wonder: Would we have anything to say to each other if I picked up the phone? I doubt it. I went to a restaurant yesterday that my father loved to frequent and the menu is still the same. It almost felt like I was a small kid again, asking if I could get the mixed grill plate.

My father wanted a colorful funeral. I brought my black suit but I will go shopping for a crazy tie today. Red/Purple - whatever. And, as an avid coffee drinker, he wanted coffee beans in his grave. Bizarre? Sure. But this wish has a very endearing quality to it.

10 things i learned (re-learned) while being in Europe

1. The US Dollar is worth nothing. I exchanged $300 at Schiphol and got 165 Euros back.
2. Coffeeshops are basically done starting July 1 when the smoking ban will become effective in the Netherlands
3. I had no idea how ugly my hometown was.
4. People in small towns stare at strangers. For a long time.
5. The strongest Wifi signal can be found at McDonalds
6. National pride of a European nation rises and falls with their wins/losses in the European cup
7. Too much meat in Germany.
8. German radio stations blow.
9. The sun is up until almost 11pm. It rocks in Europe, would hate it in Los Angeles. Can you imagine not having the merciful darkness taking over during 90+ degree days?
10. German Beer is good.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thoughts while flying to the funeral

Let’s face it: For a lucky few, life will be a business of evenly rationed suffering: horrible parents to start off, the typical humiliations at school, common injuries throughout puberty, the love of your love doesn’t want to bother with you or cheats on you, maybe another love affair gone terribly wrong, even a marriage busted. Our parents die, we face our own steady demise. Sure, that’s enough suffering for a lifetime. The lucky ones will only have those few torturous moments. The rest will have to face the unspeakable – rape, murder, child abuse, dead children, torture. As if your daily world turned into gates of hell. Through no fault of your own.

Whenever we face suffering, most of us grew up with the idea that your pain is punishment for sinful behavior. Nice theory but not really worth discussing. Feels very Stone Age and too simple for all this complexity surrounding us. And whenever I read stories about dictators living swanky lives, I continue to believe that this theory might work intellectually for primates but not for humans.

So, when I entered the dark ages AKA puberty, I started to subscribe to the notion of suffering as a test or something to improve me, make me a better person. Frankly, this thinking helped me through a lot of surgeries, broken bones, broken hearts and lonely nights. But, in the back of my mind, I knew it was another bullshit theory to keep me from going nuts. When one of my best friends died of brain cancer, there was nothing redeeming about it. Nothing improved because of his suffering, nobody learned anything from it. It was just horrible to see him dying. Period. There goes that theory out the window.

Well, last but not least, there was still the hope that al our suffering is rewarded by eternal life in Heaven. Or as the bible says: “Heaven is where God will wipe away all tears from our faces.” At this point, I subscribe to Marilynne Robinson’s quote: “It takes nothing from the loveliness of the verse to say that is exactly what will be required.”

Given all the suffering we experienced on a personal level and all over the world throughout my lifetime, I can’t even imagine how Heaven is going to make up for it. It might be a good idea for someone (God, Allah, Jehova, whatever) to wipe our tears off now. Or maybe I’m just going to peek over to the other side and check out this atheistic thing. Sounds pretty rational to me. And often more promising than waiting for Heaven.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My father died

I just found out that my father passed away this morning, German time at 8.50 am. I will be heading out to Germany to attend the funeral. As you can imagine, it's a confusing and rather painful time. I'll use this blog to write about my experience going back to my hometown: a lot of pictures, a lot of memories.

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 16, 2008

That's love



A couple that supports each other in two wildly different career paths, a million books in 11 buildings and an amazing passion for books. What's not to love?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A demented Norman Rockwell


Gregory Crewdson stages events in photographic art, blurring the distinction between reality and fiction. He utilizes the suburban landscape and presents a disturbing view of everyday American life. A critic called him a "demented Norman Rockwell."

I saw his work at the Luhring Augustine a few weeks ago in Manhattan and was immediately fascinated and sucked in by these staged images.



Being a fan of Blue Velvet, my mind always wanders through Crewdson's and Lynch's imagery when driving through beautiful and wide streets in Pasadena - perfectly manicured yards and Old Town USA feel. What happens behind those drapes? What is hidden behind the inviting smile? I wonder.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

This is just plain awful

I'm a big Obama fan but all three candidates embarrassed themselves while appealing to the WWE crowd. Are Presidents running for Class President now? What's next? Hillary making out with The Bachelor? McCain on Survivor? Obama on Big Brother? I'm disgusted and appalled what's some call American Politics.







Well, Obama, since I intend to vote for you, consider my following hobbies/affinities: Electronic Music, Wine and Running. Let's run at Griffith Park for an hour, head home, open a bottle of wine and you spin some sweet Obama music at sunset. Deal?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Twistori


Inspired by Wefeelfine, Twistori explores the Twitterverse, pulling tweets containing keywords such as I love, I think, I hate, I believe, I wish and I feel. Explore the feelings of the Twitterverse here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's been quiet lately

A lot of traveling. thoughts to share.

I'm in New York now. When I opened my room door today, I saw the USA Today on the doorstep. Why would you read the USA Today in New York? Isn't there a quality, local paper available? It's a mystery to me that USA has record circulations and insightful papers are losing readerships left and right? Don't you get all the news in the USA Today hours before on the Web? I don't think there's a lot of analysis happening in the colorful fish wrap. Or is it our snack mentality that makes USA Today so attractive to people?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How German am I?



Neat little test, comparing my lifestyle with the average Hans. Let's see (I took the male test):

- I get up before 6am. Germans get up 6.23am
- I take 10 minutes in the bathroom, the average German more than 26 minutes. German women take only 3 minutes more
- I'm optimistic in the morning. 79% of Germans as well
- I can cook. Just like 80% of German men.
- I watch around 2 hours of TV a day. Germans watch 3.5 hours
- Biggest shock: I think women should continue working after having a baby. Only 38% agree with me.
- I participated in demonstrations. Only 44% of Germans did the same
- I wouldn't defend Germany in the case of a way. I'm in the minority: 62% of Germans
- I go to be around 10.30 pm. Almost average: Germans go to bed at 10.47pm

Well, I only scored 4 points. I'm not an average German. I should give my passport back. Oh wait...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Social Media Rap


Chuck at Pop Labs raps about social media:

I surf the web, I used to watch TV
now I'm logged into Joost, it's commercial free
lets see where I want to go
and who I want to know
connecting people with people with web 2.0
I don't use email unless I'm at my job
want the next post, I subscribe to the blog
I'm easy to find
I'm always online
social networking sites, I think I have nine
I use myspace to promote my music
I get friends and album sales that's how I do it
but tell me have you heard
about the new word
something like myspace but they call it virb
always something new, I'm a start creatin
I'll make a brand new facebook application
uploading pictures and mp3's
update my profile and hit ctrl D
can't stop what I started, it's getting ridiculous
social book mark it, add it del.icio.us
some can't take it but I just can't quit
go to Imeem and listen to my playlist
watching videos on my You Tube channel
clickin so much, my mouse smoking like a candle
I'm online for hours, addicted to the power
10 tabs open on a firefox browser
I must be going crazy cause I can't get enough
I guess I'm addicted to social media

Monday, April 7, 2008

What seems small to you might make a big difference

When you work in media, you receive a lot of junk during the holidays: Cups, mugs, blankets - you name it.
Yahoo! sent me a certificate for a charity and I donated $100 to a school through DonorsChoose.org. The second grade classroom needed literature for their classroom library. The school itself doesn't have a library and no books. (Don't get me started on the state of the US education system.) The teacher asked for $580 for books on tape, classroom library furniture and a listening center.

Last Friday I received a little package from DonorsChoose.org, containing Thank you letters from the kids and pictures.







It warmed my heart that this little donation made such a difference.
$100 can buy you a nice dinner for 2. Or change lives.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thanks for the concern



I received quite a few emails about my cruel April Fools joke. We're not going anywhere. Above the reason why we stay. (A trip from LA to NY compressed in 4 minutes.) Who wants to leave such a beautiful country?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Going back to the roots



It took sleepless nights, evenings filled with discussions and a lot of thinking but we finally decided to leave the US and move back to Germany. No, it's not the beer or the sausages or the amazing German humor. It's more the realization that I miss the homeland quite a bit and I would love for my wife and daughter to experience Germany first hand. We'll see where our journey takes us. But for now, the first stop will be Germany.

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Autism and Second Life



Since the first wave of Second Life mania has subsided, the virtual world starts to be utilized by various groups for what it really is: A platform to communicate with other people. Above is an incredible story how Second Life helps people with autism. I'm hopeful Facebook will become less of an advertising tool and more of a people tool.

CNN Story

Are you ready?


March 29 has always been an important date: Cy Young and John Tyler were born. The last US soldiers leave South Vietnam in 1973. And the War of the Roses basically ends in 1461.

But March 29, 2008 will be even more monumental. Actually, it's your job to make it monumental:

Just like Joseph Jaffe a few months ago, The Age of Conversation will bumrush the Amazon charts on tomorrow.

If you don't know about 'The Age of Conversation', get all the details here and find more about the Bumrush on Drew's blog.

And, please help the bumrush by checking out this Fresh Peel Post.

Most importantly, buy the book tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stupid client quotes


Didn't get your daily fill yet? Check out Clientcopia for more than 6,000 stupid client quotes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hilarious



Charlie Brooker from BBC 4 comments on the biggest c***s and she-c***s in advertising. (Note: Strong language)



It gets even better.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Insights


Let's be frank here: Insights are basically the understanding of human insecurities. (Some would call it exploitation.)

Just think about the Wonderbra and the current beauty ideal of silicone-enhanced models. Or cars that help you get over your insecurity that you never became the man you wanted to be. Or the advent of energy drinks in a world that expects you to be on 24/7.

Brands can help people deal with their insecurities. Once in a while we all need a crutch. Unless the crutch becomes more important than the individual, we have nothing to worry about.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Love you can smell


When we put love into our work, it changes everything.

I used to like Starbucks coffee but since I experienced Intellegentsia Coffee, I'm a changed person. Everthing in their store is full of love and passion for coffee. Somehow, when they prepare my latte, their passion is transferred to the end product. (No, I don't get paid by them. Just want to make sure everybody will try their excellent product.)

I feel the same when people cook for me or just make a plain cup of coffee with a french press. Same is true when I go to a local butcher or farmers market. There's more to it than the product, I can take the emotion they put into the product home.

Sure, nobody can create excellent meals each and every day. But just a little effort and thought goes a long way. Small pieces of tomato sprinkled around a plain spaghetti dish can change everything. Or freshly pressed OJ in a champagne. These little things show appreciation and passion for your loved ones. Or your customers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Authentic



One word came to mind when I saw Obama's race speech yesterday: authentic.

Sure, he's a great speaker and, for many people, very inspiring. But his real strength is authenticity: Knowing his background of a lifetime of walking the color line, his remarks yesterday felt real.

If you ever need a case study why authenticity is so important, go back to this speech.

Monday, March 17, 2008

RIP Resume


Seth writes that resumes are obsolete. I agree.
Sure, most jobs require a resume to be even considered by HR.

But, that's because we tend to think resumes are the only way to communicate between prospective employers and employees. In reality, resumes are fairly useless, they have become a ticket stub: The real action is happening afterwards.

Seth mentions blogs and references. Instead, why not create one blog with one post just dedicated for your job search? Make it entertaining, engaging, put your heart into it. One such blog post will get prospective employers to call you very quickly. And very often.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Honda is a Doer



This looks and feels like Honda: Simple, positive and inspiring. Honda was always a brand that walks the walk, not focusing on talking the talk. The doer theme is a perfect match. Another homerun from W&K.

As you might remember, I didn't really care that much for the puzzle creative but the new commercial is a homerun. I was looking and hoping for an online extension, to no avail. If you find it, please send it to me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spokeo


I wonder how many people hate me right now. Just tested Spokeo (pretty impressive, now I can continue my journey as an online stalker) and for some reason the site sent out invites to my complete address book. Thanks for nothing. Highly doubtful I will return.

As to the wrath of my friends: I will spend the night in an undisclosed location.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 29 - Mark the date!


March 29 has always been an important date: Cy Young and John Tyler were born. The last US soldiers leave South Vietnam in 1973. And the War of the Roses basically ends in 1461.

But March 29, 2008 will be even more monumental. Actually, it's your job to make it monumental:

Just like Joseph Jaffe a few months ago, The Age of Conversation will bumrush the Amazon charts on March 29.

If you don't know about 'The Age of Conversation', get all the details here and find more about the Bumrush on Drew's blog.

Stay tuned and tell your friends.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The house that beer built


in 20 years, John Milkovisch emptied 50,000 beer cans (Falstaff was his favorite.) and used the remains to shade his house.

Just like the Watts Tower in Los Angeles, art doesn't always come from professional artists and big museums. Art comes from the heart. Yes, you can be passionate about beer cans and art at the same time.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Creativity



This is the latest masterpiece from my kid. She's in pre-school now and a pattern evolves: The schools believe you need to box creativity. As you see above, forms are being created that kids are filling in with their color ideas. (Obviously, my kid did an amazing job!)



My idea of creativity are more unruly and unconventional. Yes, I like the flower above and see the value of it. But I find it much more charming and innovative to invite our dog to a session of Yoga. As parents we walk this fine line of telling our kids what to do/not to do and, at the same time, nurture their abbility to learn this world new (After all, we didn't do such a good job so far.)

Reminds me of the new marketing reality: We need to take our learnings from the past but apply new thinking and ideas to evolving opportunities. Exciting times all around.