Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Frankly, I didn't think it was possible. But I made it.

Yes, dear reader, somehow I managed to be totally offline (no cell phone, no computer, Internet access, or email) for A WEEK. Not like I really had much of a choice, unless I wanted to schlep up and down a hill lugging a computer or drive to an Internet cafe, either way paying a small fortune for the privilege of entering cyberspace.

I admit, there were some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms... at first. Twitchy fingers... staring into space... the occasional fleck of drool. But I gained (or regained) my equilibrium pretty quickly. And the amazing thing? I didn't miss cyberspace one little bit. In fact, I felt a bit of... remorse? when I went to turn on my cell phone upon landing at JFK Sunday night.

Being away for week (on St. Maarten/St. Martin, which is by no means a third-world country, not with a fleet of cruise ships docking practically every day and disgorging hundreds of eager consumers looking to get $500 or more off a Cartier or Baume & Mercier watch and other high-end baubles), without Internet access or cell phone coverage, allowed me to focus on and enjoy what was right there in front of me, which was pretty spectacular. (OK, not all the commercial development, or the throngs of tourists, or the lubricated beach goers, some of whom could have used waaaay more fabric, if you know what I mean -- and I think you do.)

Yes dear friends, hard as it is for those of you who know me to believe this, I felt... relaxed. Really. Even though the room we were given (which was not the one we reserved and confirmed) was marked for demolition. (There was a thriving rust and mildew colony in the bathrooms; the furniture and major appliances were probably 30 years old; the blankets and some of the towels threadbare; and much of the resort staff unhelpful.) Even though each day a new tour group, fresh off a cruise ship, descended upon the beach, leaving beer tops and cigarette butts in the sand, shepherded by someone with a bullhorn. Even though every time you turned around someone was hawking a time share. Even though dining out on the French side, where everything is in Euros, meant a small pizza cost at least $15.

Yes, dear readers, despite all of that, I HAD FUN AND RELAXED -- without the aid of drugs or alcohol (well, except for the free rum punches, a couple of guavaberry coladas, and the occasional beer or glass of red wine).

It is amazing how easy it is to get attached -- and stay attached -- to our cell phones, BlackBerrys, mobile devices, Internet access, and email. And how liberating it is to discover we can actually live (at least for a week) without them. In fact, next year, I'm going to look for another place with limited connectivity, so I can focus on my tan, snorkeling, and savoring a glass of wine as the sun sets over the ocean.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nothing Says "I Love You" Like...

The Eureka Cordless Quick-Up floor sweeper. Brings a tear to my eye just writing about it. (Sniff.) If that ain't love, I don't know what is. Yes, I was not-so-secretly hoping for a cast iron frying pan (nothing says "I love you" or "Stop snoring!" like a gentle tap on the head with one of these babies). But a cordless sweeper comes in a very close second.

For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know what I think of Valentine's Day (which shares the same initials with "Venereal Disease," probably for good reason). But I may be softening in my old age.

To be fair to my spouse, who really pulled out all the stops this year, I also received a lovely arrangement of spring flowers from ProFlowers ("from your biggest WFAN" : - ). Thank you "Craig" for the discount! And he bought us his and hers t-shirts from Think Geek, which for some reason I am unable to upload here, so you'll just have to click on the link. (The title of the page is "Proximity Based Geek Lovin'." Need I say more?)

For those wondering what, if anything, I did for my man: I got him a card about farting and a commemorative Giants Super Bowl XLII t-shirt in red with a matching mug. (I thought about getting him some other stuff, but we already have plenty of beer; he had pizza with some buddies last night; and some things should just be kept private. ; )

Clearly, love is in the air -- not just here in Fairfield County but in the Republic of Congo, where a bunch of intrepid, voyeuristic scientists have been spying on gorillas doing the nasty. The big news here: "Gorillas have been caught on camera for the first time performing face-to-face intercourse," [my italics] which apparently got Thomas Breuer of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology very excited. "It is fascinating to see similarities between gorilla and human sexual behavior demonstrated by our observation." To this all I can say is, Honey, where have YOU been? You really need to get out of the jungle more.

Love -- or more accurately, sex -- has even penetrated the usually staid freelance job listings I receive each week, which included these two little gems: "Are you an ex-stripper who wants to share your story?" and "Are you a Swinger that wants to share your story?" I think these two kids need to hook up, don't you?

And now I hear Katie Holmes may be pregnant again. Really, how much more "love" can one petite person take in one morning?

I am now off to the gym to work up (or off) a good sweat.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Anti-Social Networking -- Or, Does Anyone Actually Link Up on LinkedIn?

So yesterday I attended the Small Business Summit in NYC, which is remarkable on two levels: 1) that I, a confirmed introvert and hater of crowds, would pay money to attend such a thing and 2) that I (who hate cold weather -- and man was it cold yesterday -- and have repeatedly been unable to make it into NYC because of last-minute car and health problems) actually made it. Proof, I guess, that miracles do occur.

Even more remarkable: I stayed for almost the whole thing -- and kind of enjoyed myself. I even got up in front of entire ballroom of people (sober!) and asked the VP of Marketing of Dells' SMB (for small and mid-sized businesses) Group a question -- and a good one at that! (How do I know? The VP, Karen Quintos, said "That's a really good question!" as did several people who came up to me afterwards. Want to know what the question was? You'll just have to ping me to find out. But it was so good that just about every speaker thereafter addressed it. Yeah, babies, I'm good.)

So, as anyone who has ever gone to one of these things knows, it's all about NETWORKING. You know, putting your best foot and a lot of business cards forward and hoping you score a new client or at least a lead (though I think some of the people there were looking to score a lot more than that). Yeah, I can do the smile, head tilt, shake hands, "And what do you do?" thing pretty well when I'm in "the zone." My problem with all of this, though, and the reason for the title of this post is, to borrow from Rhett Butler, Frankly, my dears, I don't really give a damn.

Speaker after speaker extolled the virtues of using social media and networking (both online and in person). You would think these people were getting kickbacks from Facebook and LinkedIn (and maybe they are). Speaker after speaker (and I am not exaggerating) said, "You need to have a Facebook page, a profile on LinkedIn, and a blog!" (Hey, two out of three isn't bad!) After the third or fourth person said this, I actually wrote in my notebook (Luddite that I still am), "Get Facebook page."

And then it happened. There I am, listening to yet another speaker natter on about Facebook and LinkedIn, as I am texting a buddy and wondering, as I often do, if anyone besides a mortgage broker or recruiter has ever actually made money or gotten a job or at least a solid lead from having a Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile, and this guy stands up and asks the question (which I am somewhat paraphrasing), "I have a profile on LinkedIn and a lot of contacts, but besides having a lot of names, what's the point?"

To this brilliant question, which I have been wanting to do an article on, titled "He Who Has the Most Contacts on LinkedIn Wins! (Wins what, though, nobody's sure.)," a VP of Marketing at some global internet marketing company responded first, "I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I think I have around 1500 contacts, which is probably too many, and don't really do anything with them" -- then quickly shifted course and said, "I know of thousands of success stories of people using LinkedIn!" Yet he couldn't name one.

You know what LinkedIn's great for? Showing off to a bunch of people you already know how many people you know and who you know (unless you are one of those people who totally defeat the purpose of LinkedIn by hiding your connections -- like we really care, please). Yes, I have a profile on LinkedIn, which I acquired when I was researching an article on online networking. And yes, I occasionally get and send invitations to "link in." Yes, I occasionally check out people's new connections (when I'm really bored). And yes, I direct prospective clients to my LinkedIn page so they can see recommendations of my work. And I know other people who do the same.

But besides giving people the ability to show off how self-important they are, does this "tool," LinkedIn, have any practical value? Go ahead. Prove me wrong. Btw, mortgage brokers and recruiters need not apply. I know you get leads on LinkedIn. I'm talking about the rest of us.

As to Facebook, I need to do a little more research on that one. Last time I checked, though, it was a way for 18 - 34-year-olds to show off how drunk they can get, how "cool" they are, how many "friends" they have, and find possible sex partners.

As I am older than the target demographic, definitely not cool (and don't care), have no friends any more (at least not after this post), have decided it's probably best to be monogamous (hi honey! love you!), and am not looking to market a product or service to the target demographic, I'm not sure Facebook is going to help me grow or promote my business (though I kind of like the idea of making zombies and throwing sheep at people, which you can do on Facebook apparently). Still, I might give it a shot. While I don't have any pictures of myself getting shit-faced, I do have some swimsuit shots that while not worthy of SI, could land me some new business. ; O

So what did I get out of yesterday's Small Business Summit?
1. I got to dress up and get out of the house. (Good and good.)
2. Probably a hundred or more people who, before the Summit, didn't know my name and what I do now do. (Possibly good, possibly creepy.)
3. I have a couple of business/job leads. (Again, possibly good.)
4. Had my ego stroked. (Always good.)
5. Learned about a few cool-sounding, possibly very useful websites. (Always good.)
And 6. Met Laurel Touby, the founder of Mediabistro (of which I am a member and which has proven to be a MUCH better investment than LinkedIn when it comes to generating leads and work), who I really liked and may do an article on -- and soon may be hosting a Mediabistro party here in Stepford. (EEK!)

All in all, not a bad day.

UPDATE: Since writing this post, I received an invitation to link up on LinkedIn from the gentleman I sat next to at lunch yesterday. For the record, I accepted.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Big O

Before I get to "the big O" in the subject heading, which is for OBAMA, you filthy-minded people (though I love you all), I wanted to take a moment to share an interesting tidbit I read on MSNBC earlier this week, about that other big O. (And no, I am not referring to Overstock.com -- though boys, if you haven't bought your sweetie something sweet for V-Day, which amusingly shares the same initials as "venereal disease," let this serve as a reminder to you. Btw, The Fan, aka Sports Radio 66 WFAN, has a great-sounding promotion running on ProFlowers.com. Just go to ProFlowers.com and click on the radio microphone in the upper right-hand corner and type in either "JoeB" or "Craig" by this Friday and you can get your honey two dozen assorted roses in a vase along with some truffles for only $39.99! And no, I don't make a commission on sales. Just trying to help out.)

But getting back to the article on MSNBC titled "Even great sex can end in post-coital blues"... A guy in his thirties writes in to Brian Alexander, who authors the Sexploration column for MSNBC (which happens to be very entertaining and educational and not at all dirty or smutty), that after doing the deed, he almost immediately gets depressed and wants to bolt.

As Mr. Alexander writes to the young man, "what you seem to be experiencing has a name (other than 'You bastard!' that is). It is 'post-coital tristesse,' a Latin-French phrase that makes the whole thing sound sophisticated and much more romantic than 'sadness after sex.'”

Apparently, the better the sex, the more the guy wants to get out of dodge (bastard!). Or as Mr. Alexander writes, "The more satisfying the sex with a woman, the duller you get." Oo lucky us!

There is even a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. But I will leave it to you to click on the link above and read about it. (It's short, like... well. I'll just leave it at that. ; O). Though I will add this: Girlfriends, instead of wondering why that guy never called, now you can say to yourselves with confidence, "I just wore him out."

Now getting back to that other used-to-be-taboo subject, politics...

Here is the latest A.P. delegate count:

Clinton 845
Obama 765
Needed 2,025

McCain 613
Romney 269
Huckabee 190
Needed 1,191

What does this mean? It means we got another nine months of "straight talk," double talk, and talk show appearances before this thing is really decided. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIEEEEEE.

Don't get me wrong. I like politics. Was even a Poli Sci major in college and went on to get a master's degree in International Relations. But this campaign has been going on FOREVER (or maybe it just seems that way), and the more I know or find out, the more nervous I get.

I voted for Obama, "the candidate of change representing the future," but early yesterday morning had second thoughts and toyed with voting for "the candidate with experience," aka Hillary. Then I read this column by New York Times columnist David Brooks, the paper's formerly Conservative columnist who some time last year apparently went to Sweden for a mysterious operation and came back if not exactly a Liberal much more moderate. And it sent chills through me. (Shades of W.) Read it and judge for yourself. I know there are two or more sides to every story, but I found this account not unbelievable.

As for the Republican race, I leave that to my fellow bloggers to dissect. Though I will say, while "I [heart] Huckabee" may make for a cute bumper sticker, there ain't gonna be no President Huckabee. Nor do I think this country is going to elect a Mormon president. Which leaves McCain, who is way more conservative than people are giving him credit for and I bet still has that nasty temper -- and is pro-war and pro-tax cut, not a good combination if you want this country to recover economically. Yeah, he seems like a nice guy. But please folks, can we stop voting for the guy we most want to have a beer with? Look where that got us the last two elections.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Best... Super Bowl... EVER.

Well, maybe not if you are a Patriots fan. But I think if you asked a bunch of forty- or fiftysomething guys if last night's contest between the as-yet undefeated New England Patriots and the 13 - 6 (including postseason play) New York Giants ranked up there among the greatest Super Bowls (as I did), they would say "yes." Unless they were a bunch of lyin', cheatin', no-good Cowboys' or Steelers' fans. (I might forgive Jets' fans for citing Super Bowl III, though, when Joe and the boys defeated the popular Baltimore Colts.)

Somewhere (I'm guessing mostly in Florida) there are a bunch of drunk or hungover '72 Dolphins and their fans still celebrating.

I admit, I am now and always have been a Giants' fan. But there was a part of me -- and at least one guy at the party we attended -- who wouldn't have been totally crushed to see the Pats go all the way. Though the charges of cheating and the off-field play of Mr. GQ QB (who, I admit, is certainly one of the hardest working QBs there is) had worn away my bon ami over the course of the season. (In case you hadn't heard, there's now some evidence that the Pats illegally taped the Rams before that Super Bowl. That aside, I must say, VERY classy of Mister Bill to run over to Coach Coughlin with a second left on the clock and give him a big ole bear hug.)

Btw, I have not read or watched the news yet (either last night or this morning), but I bet anything that a bunch of folks are going to cite Tom Brady's high ankle sprain as the reason the Pats didn't perform better. Oh boo hoo hoo. Plaxico played with a bum knee AND a bad ankle and he seemed to do OK.

I don't have a problem with young Eli being named the MVP, but the real cause of last night's triumph (or defeat, depending on your point of view)? DE-FENSE. That Giants defense ROCKED, baby.

My mantra whenever the Pats had the ball and Brady was about to throw or pass was "sack, pick, fumble," and I have to say, I was pretty effective. Brady went down so many times that Gisele must have been envious.

(Btw, thank you, Fox Sports, for the many shots of Gisele sipping red wine in a luxury box, which you flashed us all evening. That was riveting TV. Btw, anyone know why Peytie Pie was all alone in that other luxury box? I heard that Eli requested that his mom and dad and fiancee sit in the stands, but I am surprised the camera didn't pan to them. If they did, I missed it. Archie Manning -- and Olivia, of course -- sure has a lot to be proud of: back-to-back Super Bowl wins and MVPs for his two younger sons. I pity the sons of other NFL greats right now.)

Getting back to the game...

Wow. That's really all I have to say. WoW. And that catch by David Tyree in the fourth quarter? Un-effing-believable, baby. As young Eli said, "David Tyree, man, that's all you've got to say."

It is surely a game that will go down in history. I know I will be watching highlight film whenever I can sneak a peak at the TV today. Wow, wow, wow.

In other Super Bowl-related news...

Not only was it a good night for the Giants, but it was a good night for the mister, too. Two winning boxes in the Super Bowl pool. Yeah baby. (Before you start asking for a little somethin'-somethin', it wasn't that much and the kid already took a cut.)

Wish I could say the same for those Super Bowl ads. What a dissapointing lot. Though the ad for amp energy drink (Warning: Do Not Attempt) was pretty hysterical, in a sick, could-only-have-been-conceived-by-some-twisted-thirtysomething-guy kind of way.

But kudos to Tom Petty. That boy (who must be, what?, at least 60) still can rock it. A most excellent half-time show (though I also liked Prince).

And that wraps it up for me. Now, to the videotape...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Disgruntled Steelers' Fan? And Is Any Pitcher Really Worth That Much?

I really like football. Really. But seven days of nonstop Super Bowl coverage on the Fan (How many guys does it take to cover one story? Apparently at least eight -- if you are a NY Metro area sports station.) has made me start thinking about baseball, though I am equally sick of hearing the boys on the Fan yammer on about Johan Santana, the Minnesota Twins ace pitcher the Mets are intent on signing (deadline is supposedly tonight at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, though there's talk of an extension).

I don't care if the guy can throw a ball 100 mph or whatever they've clocked him at. It is insulting to me to have to hear about whether the guy will get $140 million or $150 million or $170 million over five or six or seven years or whatever. All of these figures are absurd. No human being, not even Tom Brady, is worth that. While these "marquee" athletes are clearly talented and bring in the fans, and revenue (which, let's be real, is what the owners really care about), you want to talk about "heroes" and people who deserve bigger salaries, let's talk about teachers and cops and firefighters.

But I digress.

What set me off this morning (football-wise) was this article in today's New York Times Online, which reports on why the "ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee [Pennsylvanian Arlen Specter] wants N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell to explain why the league destroyed evidence related to spying by the New England Patriots."

Destroyed the evidence? You kidding me?

The whole thing makes me shake my head. Yeah, I know Belichick and the team were fined. (What's the fine for stupidity? You think your former assistant wouldn't have an inkling, Bill?) Interestingly, this whole incident has disproved the saying "cheaters never prosper." New phrase of the day: "Whatever you do, don't get caught. And if you do, make sure you have Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker on your team."

While certainly knowing ahead of time the opposing team's signals could be a big help, you still need great athletes, and good coaches (preferably ones who don't cheat), to win a game.

I don't know if any of this will have any impact on Sunday's Big Game. (Hey, did you hear? This Sunday is the Super Bowl!) What I do know is that although I will miss football Sundays, I'm ready for a break from all the Super Bowl-related hype and speculation.