Friday, January 6, 2017

Are the Mariners for Real?

The Seattle Mariners have started another spark for Seattle sports fans. Baseball nuts around the emerald city have had their share of disappointment in recent past years. Coming shy of the playoffs, manager changes, and losing valuable star players are just a few. There is no doubt that this Seattle franchise has been in trouble for some time now.

This is currently the 2007 season and the outcome may finally be different. Bad pitching has plagued the Mariners but a possible reversal of fortune is being noted. The team has a rare above average five man starting rotation. With aces like Jeff Weaver, Jarrod Washburn, and Felix Hernandez, any game with any opponent could end up a victory. In addition, they boast an outstanding bullpen. Their closer, J.J. Putz, by himself has no blown saves. Others like rookie Brandon Morrow and veteran George Sherrill can competently take over in dire game situations.


Great pitching isn’t the only factor contributing to Seattle baseball success this year. Batting has been another huge asset on their side. At last they possess a feared batting lineup that no American League contender wants to face. All pitchers dread going against hitters such as Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre, and Raul Ibanez. These are power hitters but beware of the imminent danger, Ichiro Suzuki. He has had multiple ten game hitting streaks and is presently the second best major league batter behind Magglio Ordonez. Finally, a much unheard name is second baseman Jose Lopez. In later innings this young man is pounding well over a three hundred average. No big league manager could possibly mistake the Mariner lineup to be vulnerable.


Skeptics of this team say they are still lacking something. That magic component may in fact be experience. However, many other teams have made the playoffs on this stigma. For example, the 2006 Detroit Tigers dominated nearly everyone later making the World Series. The Tigers were extremely inexperienced but very raw in talent. This in itself should silence that classification of critics.


As of June 28, 2007 the Seattle Mariners have a record of 42-33. They are second place in the American League West division just five games behind the Angels. With a five game winning streak, this team has proven to be a competitive force. Not to mention, Seattle is only two games out of the lead wild card position trailing an inconsistent Cleveland. They have heart, drive, and most of all talent. Now only one question truly remains unanswered. Are the Mariners for real?


Labels: Are the Mariners for Real?

Anniversary Song

Lilting peace,
Quiet reassurance,
Unabashed strength

Our lives a long dance,
A map of the world,
Thick rope of eternal length.


Morning embrace,
Light of your face,
I still know why I married you dear


Singing our song in harmony,
We have built a family,
Thankful, content right here.


A love unlike any other,
Sweeter and lasting still,
We belong to each other, always will.


Labels: Anniversary Song

Anniversary of JFK (Kennedy) Assassination

47 years to the day after the infamous assassination of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy and still no reconciliation of the masses to the proposed facts of the case. What do we know?

We know:


  1. J. F. K. was fatally shot at 12:30pm on the 22nd November 1963 on Dealey Plaza, Elm Street in Dallas, Texas. The shots were fired just past the Texas School Book Depository (where Lee Harvey Oswald worked) AND the accursed ‘Grassy Knoll”.

  2. The last words Kennedy probably heard were “Mr. President, you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you?” spoken by Nellie Connaly, First Lady of Texas.

  3. According to wikipedia we have an overly accurate description of how he died, “as President Kennedy waved to the crowds on his right with his right arm upraised on the side of the limo, a shot entered his upper back, penetrated his neck, slightly damaged a spinal vertebra and the top of his right lung, exited his throat nearly centerline just beneath his Adam’s apple, then nicked the left side of his suit tie knot.”

  4. Howard Brennan, a Steamfitter testified that he saw Oswald with a rifle (a ‘Carcano’) make the second shot from a sixth floor window of the Depository.

  5. Osald was arrested only 40minutes after the assassination, for the murder of a Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit with a pistol after running into a movie theatre after dodging buying a ticket. Oswald denies both murders.

  6. The ten-month investigation of the Warren Commission of 1963-1964, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) of 1976-1979, and other government investigations concluded that the President was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

  7. Two days later Oswald was killed by Dallas nightclub owner, Jack Ruby during a prison transfer.

  8. Ruby was convicted but appealed the death sentence but soon died of lung cancer 3rd Jan 1967 before his appeal was ever heard.

  9. According to Wikipedia “polls conducted from 1966 to 2004 concluded approximately 80% of the American public” were unconvinced by the official judgements.

Many would describe the details of that day to be more than coincedental. Bill Hicks, Comedy legend and opinionated fellow with remarkable intellegence and passion, often called into question the official beliefs of that event, playing out the absurdity of the government’s claims: “They have the window set up to look exactly as it did on that day and it’s really acurate ’cause, Oswald’s not in it…Back and to the left…back and to the left… I know it looks to the layman our someone who might dabble in physics would be caused by a bullet coming from well…up here (pointing in the opposite direction to the sixth floor window).”


He only echoed the conspirary theorists over the decades that claimed the government to be lying to its people. Of course if the government is lying then such a powerful body could easily fabricate evidence, buy witness statements and doctor reports. Is it our patriotic pride and trust that makes the possibility so inconcievable especially in light of the various scandals proving the humanity and therefore sometimes lack of moral conscience or ethics of politicans.


All the jokes and stories that stereotypically lump all politicians into liars and disassemblers but society needs a structure, a security and foundation of belief. Many also claim that the 1969 moon landing was a fake, mentioning the blowing American flag in the supposed atmospheric gravity bubble of the satelite. What are the reasons behind these lies, if that indeed is what they are? A powerful man would probably say protection of the populace, steering humanity the way it needs to go because the idea is stronger than the facts that attested it.


On an episode of Bones recently, the lab of the Jeffersonian was taken over by official looking types who brought the gift of an unidentified corpse dating back to 1963. I have to wonder if today’s medical science could illuminate some shocks and facts? However could the results of any such examination be trusted?


All together I feel frustrated as humanity often phrases the meaning of life itself as discovery and knoledge and the confusion rot by potential lies rips into so many basic truths that society is blind and free thinking misinformed. Where do we even start, as a layman and not a genius scientist, when faced with the possibility of years of evolved knowledge being wrong?


Labels: Anniversary of JFK (Kennedy) Assassination

A Beautiful Mind Needed

I’m sure most of the people reading this article have seen “A Beautiful Mind” the story of mathematician John Nash. His breakthrough theory, for which he won the Nobel prize in Economics, was simple in concept, and it overturned 200 years of theory which had been accepted since first put forth by Adam Smith in 1776, in his book “The Wealth of Nations”

Wealth of Nations Brief Summary
Adam Smith is famous for his theory that nations attain wealth and function best where individuals are completely free to use their skills and capital (money, land, etc.) in their own self-interest and at their own discretion.


Smith taught that prices and wages will automatically reach optimal levels (guided by an “invisible hand”) when such freedom is allowed. For instance, jobs that require special training will result in fewer people making that educational investment, and, therefore, those jobs would yield higher wages. This explains why doctors make more than bus drivers. He also taught that odious or unpleasant jobs would result in higher wages (garbagemen being paid more than retail clerks, for example).


Adam Smith spoke for democracy with his idea that self-interest, practiced by all classes of people, works to the benefit of society as a whole. Each person ought to be free to pursue their ambitions, and such freedom will benefit everyone with new markets, better products, and opportunities for greater wealth all around.


Smith felt the role of government should be to protect contracts under the law, grant patents and copyrights as incentives for invention, and provide public works such as roads that would benefit everyone.


John Nash’s Breakthrough:


As to Adam Smith’s theory, Nash summarized Smith’s position as this: The best result comes when each member of the group does what is best for himself. Nash’s breakthrough was in realizing the Smith’s theory was incomplete, and most importantly, he proved it mathematically.


In summary, his modification of Smith’s theory was this:


The best result comes when each member of the group does what is best for himself, and the group.


This is what is missing from the current state of our economy, and it is what is missing from the Republicans steadfast support of Adam Smith. When Smiths theory is imposed on a society, regulations are gutted in favor of the markets “invisible hand” and poverty dramatically increases, while the wealthy get much, much wealthier.


Keynesian economics advocates a mixed economy-predominantly private sector, but with a large role of government and public sector-and served as the economic model during the latter part of the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war economic expansion (1945-1973) It served our country quite well.


Smith, however, advocated a regulation free, private sector solution to almost everything, and when implemented, Smiths policies leave in their wake a few new Billionaires, a respectable amount of millionaires, and a staggering number of people who fall into the abyss of poverty. (Does this seem eerily familiar?)


Seeing that the missing ingredient is the addition of “what is best for himself, and the group” is the very reason we see an economy where the wealthiest among us are holding on to over 2 trillion dollars in cash, and corporate profits have just posted a record 1.66 trillion dollars/year pace for the quarter, and yet so many people remain out of work.


The spin is that this is due to uncertainty on the tax rates, and how they might change. Any reasonable person would know this is false on it’s face.


The certainty is this. The Nobel Prize winning theory of economics proposed by John Nash have been totally ignored by those that make the rules, and the golden rule is, the ones with the gold make the rules.


I think it makes sense for us to acknowledge some truth’s about the nature of man. When the success of the corporation excludes the involvement of our working class, society becomes more imbalanced until we reach a breaking point. In my humble opinion, we are well on our way there now.


Since changing the nature of man is much more diffcult than using common sense regulations to rein in that nature, it is time for all to realize that regulations are not the enemy of business, they are the governor of the inherent nature of the corporation, and the governor of the engine of our economy.


In my opinion, it is past time that John Nash’s theories were adopted through regulation. If they were, manufacturing plants would not be being relocated in foreign countries to make a higher profit, because while that approach may be best for the corporation and it’s shareholders, it does not garner the best result for the group which just happens to be our entire country. This could be accomplished simply by measuring the impact that moving the jobs to a foreign country has on our economy, and taxing the imported products when they come back into our market accordingly.


Does that sound unfair to you? Think about it. If we eliminate the profit motive of the move, the jobs stay here.


The corporations duty is to maximize profits, and that duty is understandable, and expected by it’s shareholders. So, only through regulations can we hope to turn the deadly trend of outsourcing, and save what was once, and can be again, the most vibrant and dynamic country in the world. We simply need to value our country as much as we do profit.


One final point of fact. Regulations are laws that attempt to prevent actions that are harmful to society by imposing a penalty on the entity that does not comply with that regulation. So, we can understand the need for regulations more clearly if we understand that when they say deregulate, they are in effect saying decriminalize. The reason for deregulation is so that those entities that can do the crime, do not do the time.


Labels: A Beautiful Mind Needed

A 0 APR Credit Card Can Save You Money

Credit card companies offer several different types of credit cards, and it makes a great deal of sense to review each card offer carefully in order to determine which offer is the best for you. A 0 APR credit card can save you a great deal of money during the grace period for the card, and can provide other benefits beyond that time.

APR stands for annual percentage rate, and refers to the interest charged for using the card. In essence, the credit card issuer offers you money via the use of the credit card. In exchange for this privilege of using the money, you are charged interest, which is in the form of a percentage rate.


In most cases, you can generally use your card and will not be charged interest if you pay the balance in full each month. However, if any balance is remaining, you will be charged the full interest rate on that balance.


The 0 APR credit card will generally offer free interest for a predetermined period of time. This often ranges from six months to fifteen months, depending on the terms offered for the particular credit card agreement. This time of interest-free purchasing power is called the grace period for the credit card. Another aspect of the grace period is the time you have from making a purchase until the time you can make the payment and not be charged interest, as will most often happen if you pay your balance in full monthly.


A 0 APR credit card may also offer additional benefits to the card holder. These can include, depending on the specific terms being offered, rewards on air flights and other travel, fuel rewards, cashback rewards and rewards on other types of merchandise. Many of these cards are available for no annual fee, and several also allow for the transfer of balances from other credit cards.


You will want to read any 0 APR credit card offers very closely to understand the specific benefits with which they will provide you. Online shoppers would definitely benefit from a credit card that offers substantial cashback rewards when online purchases are made using the card, for example. Merchants who are in partnership with the credit card issuer may also offer double rewards when you make a purchase from them using your credit card.


Depending on the specific terms, a 0 APR credit card may allow you to earn rewards points for each dollar you spend. These can be redeemed for airline tickets that can be used when you want to, regardless of peak travel times. Some of the card offers may provide you with cashback, which is typically taken off the balance amount you owe. You will want to read each offer carefully to understand all of the benefits you will receive by using the credit card.


Labels: A 0 APR Credit Card Can Save You Money

7 Surefire Ways to Shed Those Holiday Pounds

For some, the 2010 mirror hasn’t been so kind. Holiday indulgences tend to stick around long after you’ve sworn off that last gingerbread boy. Here’s some tips on how to effectively lose those extra pounds and get back to your pre-holiday shape.

Increase your water intake


A least five pounds of excess weight could be the result of water-retention from salty foods and drinks. Water is an essential component of weight loss and body “system flush”. Replacing afternoon coffee, sodas and juices with water (the usual 8-eight ounce glasses a day is a suggested guide) will give you a head start on weight loss and also give you the extra energy that may get zapped by dehydration.


Eliminate all desserts


For a while at least, curb the desserts. Desserts and salt are your number one enemies toward weight-loss and should be avoided. If you must indulge, try a small piece of dark chocolate, which has significantly lower calories than flour-based desserts as well as beneficial antioxidants called flavonoids, which stimulates endorphin production. Snack on small amounts of cheese and green apple slices (dipped in dark chocolate if you must have something sweet) throughout the day when you get a sugar craving. Surprisingly small amounts of treats are needed to squelch cravings.


Exercise, stretch, walk


Movement is a necessary component of weight loss. There are such a wide variety of exercises available that your greatest difficulty will be choosing which one you’ll commit to. One need not join a gym to work out regularly; walking 20-30 minutes every other day is a great start, which can be increased to a daily routine. Stretching is a wonderful activity and gets the metabolism revved up in the morning. Stretching also increases flexibility and improves posture. Though running is an extremely effective calorie burner and post-holiday fat-reducer, there are other “fun” exercises you can do if running is not your thing: dancing in your living room to your favorite songs, recording popular exercise programs from FitTV on your dvr (many offer strength training, cardio and core routines), playing football or frisbee with your kids, even hiking if the weather offers a sunny winter day.


Eat at home


Restaurant eating will only exacerbate the damage caused by holiday excess. Eating at home and eating fresh ingredients that you prepare yourself will insure exactly what’s going into your food. In this way, you can keep salt and additives to a minimum. Salads don’t have to be boring–you can create any meal you usually love and substitute salad for the bread (Taco Salad, Cobb Salad with Egg and Avocado, Grilled Chicken Salad, Tuna Fish on Salad, Hamburger salad, etc.). Use Romaine lettuce and or fresh spinach for added nutrients. Keep portions small and drink water after your meal to trick your fullness-factor.


Eat fruit


Fruit is an excellent weapon to combat the post-holiday bulge. The best way to insure you’ll actually eat fruit (which is not nearly as exciting as those cookies you have left over) is to ditch leftover cookies immediately and buy fruit and keep it where you can see it. Naturally, buy fruit you actually like and know you’ll eat. You can make fruit smoothies easily and quickly by combining ice, orange juice and fruit of choice (mangos, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc) in a blender for a quick and delicious pre-breakfast or post-dinner treat. Bananas contain a lot of sugar, so use moderately.


Nix the sugar and flour


Sugar started the problem, so now it’s time to say goodbye. Sugar as well as white flour products will be a detriment to your trimming and slimming efforts. There are new sweeteners you can use such as Truvia (which is made from the stevia leaf), pure stevia, Succanat (non-refined cane sugar) or even honey. Flour products should contain whole wheat as opposed to bleached or unbleached. Whole wheat products are rich in fiber, which aid digestion, and are made from complex carbohydrates which are considered the “good” carbs.


Set goals and reward yourself


Don’t try to lose all your weight at once. If you gained ten pounds over the holidays, set 2-3 pound goals and reward yourself with a small “treat”, preferably a non-food indulgence. Or, you can treat yourself with a very small bowl of ice-cream. Remember to get right back on track until your next 2-3 pound goal. Keeping your goals small and reachable will ensure greater success and motivation to stay on your slimming course until your final goal weight is achieved. Expect small fluctuations in weight: you might lose 3 pounds the first week and gain a pound back, this is normal. Stick to your plan, and in no time you should see your holiday “excess” come and go as quickly as the holidays did.


Labels: 7 Surefire Ways to Shed Those Holiday Pounds

A 100-Year History of Advertising

“A mediated communication intended for mass persuasion. Culturally, advertising manipulates selected words, images and symbols to create a favorable impression for a product or service.” Johnston

Advertising has always been the primordial communication design, driven to influence “consumer behavior”. Advertising as a venue found its roots during the Industrial growth period of the 1880’s. Between 1920 and 1929, America became a full-fledged “consumer society” and as a result became heavily dependent on advertising through many mediums. Magazines are one of the venues used by corporate American conglomerates to bring their goods to the end user and into American homes. Advertising companies began appearing and offering their services to corporate America due to the fast growing complex business of advertising. Print advertising ranged from simple posters to catalogs, circulars, sales notices, price lists, junk mail and most significantly, newspapers, as these were ALL cheap to produce.


Alfred Sloan, the President of General Motors from 1923 to 1941, built his company into the world’s largest automaker, not by refining the production process, but by adopting new approaches to marketing and advertising. Sloan said, “The primary object of the corporation was to make money, not just to make cars”. I believe that statement sums it up for what advertising is all about. With the introduction of colored ink came colored labels and wrappers, which assisted in “brand naming” and establishing corporate identities. Colored printing also paved the way for the life style magazines of the 1920’s. They were the most influential with weekly and monthly publications reaching millions of consumers in every major city. Up until 1923, the theme had been reform. Thanks to readers getting bored with the “old” investigative issues, which reflected badly on their own kind, “consumerism” became the hot new substance of approach. It was common, as it is today to see a pleasantly happy and good-looking woman leaning over a brand new Maytag and stuffing her laundry into it. This was clearly Maytag’s way of saying “This washer will make you happier while washing your dirty clothes”. Alternatively, you would see sports figures such as Babe Ruth taking a swing at the bat and saying “It’s the finest Cola Drink I’ve ever tasted”. Red Rock Cola knew what they were doing by using such a huge name in baseball to promote their product. This is just a couple examples of how influential magazine advertisements could be.


Coca Cola would be a good example of how product advertising could change during this period. Coke was marketed as a medicine in 1880 with claims that it cured headaches and could “revive and sustain” a man. By the 1920’s the company emphasized the product as a refreshment and/or fun food. Consumers would demand the soft drink at soda fountains and this behavior would pressure store owners to stock it . By 1929, American companies were spending $3 billion a year to advertise their products. This was 5 times more than was spent in 1914. These examples and statistics are a direct result of successful advertising campaigns designed to influence “consumer behavior”.


The War effort was a huge monumental “machine” that extended its tentacles far into the society of American lives. With consumer rationing programs in full effect, the War effort turned to advertising to get access to recyclable materials that were coming from our own homes and businesses. The government and private corporations would create and advocate smarter and more cautious use of resources through a deluge of consumer advertisements. Goods for consumer consumption were already limited due to the nations shift to war materials production. Consumers had to budget and save what they had. Based on government-sponsored advertisements consumers were urged to avoid waste. Working together in a collaborative effort to recruit, sell War Bonds and other wartime necessities The War Advertising Council that consisted of all aspects of advertising and the U.S. Government would conduct Advertising campaigns.


Franklin D. Roosevelt, when governor of New York in 1931, told the Advertising Federation of America,


“If I were starting life over again, I would go into the advertising business in preference to almost any other.”


With openly advertised propaganda tactics, ads and the agencies designing them would never be the same. “Propaganda” had been nicknamed Americas “not so secret weapon” due to the openly brazen tactics of the advertising agencies. In one particular ad, women were told emphatically, “Food is a Weapon”. The National Wartime Nutrition Program asked women to make sure their families got enough to eat, but only prepare what their families could consume in one sitting. Another advertisement directed at patriotic women was based on “Meatless Days” and provided recipes that relied upon bread scraps and/or assorted leftovers. There were also the government-sponsored ads calling on conservation and recycling. One ad called for Americans on the home front to save their kitchen fats due to its reusability making bombs and caring for wounded soldiers. The advertisement appealed directly to women and it was called the, “Pass the Ammunition” campaign. In an ad sponsored by the U.S. Treasury Department, War Bonds were advertised in an ad for Christmas. The ad goes on to say “But we do want the right kind of peace as soon as possible, and this Christmas we can help hasten the coming of that wonderful day by making War Bonds our chief gift.” These ads were everywhere and strategically placed for the best receptions while being aimed at every demographic. Advertisements also called upon Americans to save bottles, cans, scrap metal and paper, as it was recycled into bomb rings, shell containers, blasting kegs and parachute flares.


In1933, the U.S. Government tried to regulate advertising to an unprecedented degree using Congress Bill S 1944. Manufacturers and advertisers saw this bill as a significant threat. It would give the government strict control over industrial quality and advertising. The Bill represented one of the “New Deals” moves toward a “planned economy”. It was contested and finally defeated in 1934, however, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was passed with support of both Industry and Advertising. In 1940, The U.S. Federal Trade Commission would deal harshly with certain advertisers for making phony claims.


For the most part advertising would make a comeback after the 1930’s and would advance further during WWII. Wartime Tie-ins were common and used universally as B.F. Goodrich used an Ad Campaign that said, “Hitler smiles when you waste miles”. An air-conditioner manufacturer claimed that he was sinking Japanese ships because the periscope lenses of American submarines were manufactured in an air-conditioned shop .


After WWII, television and advertising would work well together. The advertising agencies would bring in psychologists and sociologists to study human nature in order to figure out how to manipulate people without them feeling manipulated. In 1941, Dr. Ernest Dichter, “The Master of Mass Motivation”, would be quoted saying that the successful ad agency, “manipulates human motivations and desires and develops a need for goods with which the public has at one time been unfamiliar…Perhaps even undesirous of purchasing.” An advertising agency that could accomplish just that is considered highly successful.


“It is through the use of a variety of media that messages get delivered to the markets. It is important to understand the expanding medium choices as well as the benefits and limitations of each, if messages are to be designed and delivered effectively.” (Young 1963)


So began the age of Television Advertising. As the fifties got underway, one bittersweet advertising success worth noting would be the use of ad campaigns to sell cigarettes and portray smoking in general as being “socially acceptable”. It was common to see the evening news anchor or even Americas favorite actors with the then fashionable cigarette dangling from their lips. Advertising worked well for “big tobacco” and television. In no other time in history would you see smoking accepted more as an increasingly popular social pastime. Cigarettes were free to be advertised and by the looks of it, you would think they were good for you, due to the many beautiful people smoking them. Lighting up on TV is something viewers became accustomed to throughout the 1950’s and 60’s and it was the ad agencies successful marketing ploys which made this happen. One of the most rivaled and widely known advertising icons in history was the Marlboro man. In 1955, The Leo Burnett Advertising Agency revamped advertising for Marlboro cigarettes, which was formerly a minor “off” brand, marketed for its mild flavor and targeted at women smokers. The Marlboro Man models were introduced as rugged cowboys on horseback, smoking “a cigarette designed for men that women would like”. Sales shot up immediately and Marlboro became the world’s bestselling cigarette brand. These ads became more and more ridiculous as time went on but the most ridiculous of all was L&M Cigarette’s slogan “It’s just what the doctor ordered”, that seemed to be the mother of all cigarette commercials. Fortunately, doctors would begin to have their say and in 1965, cigarette manufacturers, ordered by the Surgeon General, would include warning labels on their packages, thanks to the release of a study linking cigarette smoking to cancer. As the public began to digest the facts of tobacco use, the television industry was forced to take a $220,000,000 a year loss to ad revenues when the Federal Government ordered an end to all televised spots promoting cigarettes. The last televised commercial to run would be for “Virginia Slims” during The Tonight Show on January 1, 1971.


Advertising in the first half of the 20th century had promoted a world of mass-produced, standardized products for the longest time. Social differences would be erased thanks to advertising and mass consumption. In the 1950’s, marketing’s emphasis would be placed on segmentation. This means selectively marketing a product and its marketing strategy to the interests and needs of a distinct subgroup. The historian Robert Wiebe suggested that division of economic, social, cultural and psychological characteristics of the people marked the United States as a “segmented society”. Few advertisers try to sell the same thing to everybody today; too often that has meant selling to nobody. The Volkswagen ad campaigns of 1959 are a perfect example of segmentation advertising. ( History Matters) Selling the VW in the late 50’s was a challenge thanks to Adolph Hitler touting the brand as the German “people’s car”, just two decades prior. As American cars were growing, sprouting fins and gaining comfort features, the Doyle Dane Bernbach advertising agency was attempting to sell a small and Spartan vehicle. Unlike Chevy, Ford and Plymouth reaching for broad markets the ad campaign focused on a devoted minority to make Volkswagen a marketing triumph. One famous ad invited buyers to “Live below your Means”, and presented a car for people who could afford to spend more but chose not to. Selected as the greatest advertising of the 20th century by Advertising Age magazine, the Volkswagen campaign set a trend in segmentation marketing. ( History Matters) In the 1960s, the “Baby Boomer” generation would embrace the Volkswagen as a way to show rejection of what they saw as the materialism of older generations.


With the end of World War II came the promise of many new and modern appliances. Major manufacturers like Westinghouse, General Electric, Frigidaire and Whirlpool were doing their best to convince America it was time to modernize their old-fashioned kitchens with new and innovative appliances. Betty Furness, an attractive Hollywood actress who never quite reached stardom was recruited by Westinghouse to be their TV spokesperson. Advertising commercials were broadcast live back then, so Furness had to do her part without any errors. The teleprompter had yet to be invented, so she had to be well rehearsed for her lines. It would not be until mid-decade that tape and film would be introduced. Despite these limitations, Betty Furness came across just as poised, cool and confident as the ideal homemaker in the idealized kitchen. In 1952, Westinghouse sponsored much of the Republican National Convention and ran over 4 ½ hours of commercials that week with Betty Furness as their representative. Westinghouse would show the Furness ads more than 20 times a day as Betty demonstrated refrigerators, washers and ranges all the while accumulating more airtime than the presidential hopefuls. When Furness demonstrated the latest features of the new frost-free refrigerator she encouraged buying, not based on need but instead, on the principle of consumption for its own sake. The walls around entertainment, information and commercialism were crumbling. The Westinghouse commercials would characterize the 1950’s definition of consumerism by introducing the new standard to advertising. The success of Betty Furness showed the increasing attention Advertising agencies would pay women who would in turn sell to women (Young).


As the 1960’s rolled in, this new attitude yielded to a more sophisticated, artistic approach taken by advertisers toward their audience. The slower and class-conscious organizations of Madison Avenue would concede to a new more flexible capitalism that imagined consumption not in terms of accordance and orderly progress but in those of the glorious chaos of hip Scientific advertising yielded to the creativity and individuality of the counterculture (Frank).


Entering the mid 1960’s, advertising would not be able to maintain the strictly scientific approach to the advertising theory involving a belief in the value of organization and the power of “science” to solve problems. Since advertising was in its infancy, agencies would approach their targeted audiences through utter saturation of consumers’ minds with campaigns that were unoriginal, extremely repetitive, and downright unbelievable, convincing consumers everywhere that “it” was the product to buy. (Frank) Regardless of how deliberate or unintentional, a new revolutionary generation of advertisers reacted against this bland, scientific approach to advertising. In the late 1960’s ads were directed at the audience with the young bright glorious form of color from the vibrant counterculture style of visual art. Ads would again take on new meaning by using the never-ending rainbow consortium of color, born straight out of the 60’s. This style was so vividly bright, wavy and mystical as seen on the storefronts of San Francisco’s, Haight-Ashbury district and acid rock concert posters everywhere. Reminiscent of earlier paintings on hippies Volkswagens, the vibrant counterculture style of visual art would literally explode on the scene of advertisements everywhere. As long as there was light, color would be used to manipulate our thoughts and perceptions via every medium of advertising.


As society and advertising made the turn towards the 21st century, an educated consumer arose. No longer would people have a need based on what advertisers thought they should buy. Demographic studies were born and ad agencies would now direct their sales to specific genders and age groups. Advertising agencies were hell bent on knowing “who” they were selling to, before anyone actually made the first purchase. Demographic studies would be based on age, race, religious orientation, where you lived, and what type of house you lived in. Did you own or rent? Were you in the suburbs, or in the rural areas? Was your hair blonde or brunette? Did you buy your coffee at the local coffee shop or make it at home in the morning before you left? Any question that you can think of will solidify the fact that consumer studies have answered them. Consumer studies would become an art, knowing who you where selling to and how many in that sector of the population there were, could lead to better control of how much of an item was produced and what the end results would be before one item was ever produced, let alone sold. Marketing strategies often meant devoting large sums of money to testing consumer’s responses to colors, shapes and layouts. Based on these responses, and armed with this “paid for” knowledge, advertisers found they were better equipped than ever to deal with this new, up and coming “educated” consumer. After all, it was the abuse of yesterday’s ads that created the “well educated masses” of today, right?


Everyone who advertised in 1972-whether it be manufacturing companies, service operations, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, associations, labor unions, schools, churches, governments, politicians, individuals placing want ads–spent an estimated $23 billion for the privilege. Over $13 billion alone poured into advertising by 17,000 national advertisers. Some of the biggest ad names of the time were Proctor & Gamble with an annual expenditure of approximately $275 million and E.J. Gallo Winery investing about $13.3 million. The top 100 companies to advertise at this time spent $5.27 billion in advertising media alone. Less than 1% of America’s national advertisers accounted for 40% of all national advertising dollars. These incomprehensible figures were just a sign of things to come as advertising was getting good and primed to take it to the next level. In 1974, corporate image promotion was born, thanks to some widely publicized scandals, which tarnished a once golden image. In an attempt to salvage its respectable reputation, super-corporation ITT unveiled a $6 million ad drive to improve its image behind the slogan “The Best Ideas Are the Ideas That Help People”. (Wallechinsky & Wallace) These same ad firms that promoted image rehabilitation also taught their clients how to act when being interviewed by the press or when appearing before congressional committees. Advertising has truly evolved into a “BIG BUSINESS”.


Through all of the growing pains and trips and tribulations of advertising, many worthwhile and everlasting memories are created. When I think of old TV commercials of this era, I cannot help but think of one company that seems to have been around forever. They choreographed and executed one of the most memorable TV commercials in history. It was a featured advertisement in 1971, directed and articulately filmed on a “Hilltop” in Italy with an international group of young people singing, “I’d like to buy the World a Coke”. For those of you who do not remember the lyrics here they are:


I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love,


Grow apple trees and honeybees and snow-white turtledoves.


I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,


I’d like to buy the world a coke, and keep it company.


This campaign was a result of a spontaneous reaction between Bill Backer, the creative director on the Coca-Cola account for McCann-Erickson and a group of people he noticed sharing a coke at Shannon Airport in Ireland. As he explained to the others working on the ad, he said, “I could see and hear a song that treated the whole world as if it were a person—a person the singer would like to help and get to know. I am not sure how the lyrics should start, but I know the last line”. With that, he pulled out the paper napkin on which he had scribbled the line “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.”


The commercial was first released in Europe, where the response was tepid at best. When released in the U.S. the response was immediate and dramatic, with people calling into radio stations to request it. The song was recorded stateside and made its way to the Top Ten on Americas Pop music charts. To this day, more than 30 years later, the sheet music continues to sell. (Library of Congress).That is the power of television advertising in one of its grandest moments, making a common connection among people. This is the basis, for which all advertising agencies try to emulate. Making a connection with a group of people is the sole desire. Coca Cola just happened to make a connection with the whole world. From what had once been a “print by the million” effort to invoke purchase, had now become a creative art in marketing to the masses on various levels. Though Coca Cola’s “Hilltop” campaign struck a chord with people worldwide, it is unimaginable that this could be repeated all over again. Even on a smaller stage, the world does not play like this in reality. Advertising 15 years ago had been terribly mistaken; people should not have consumed in order to fit in. Advertising today grossly exaggerates consuming and derives its validity from the impulse to do one’s own thing (Frank).


As technology started to blaze a deep and unfathomable trail toward the 21st century, advertising would simply hang on for the ride. With the introduction of new electronic gadgets shaping the future, every medium available to advertise with would be tapped and exploited to make certain every soul on earth knew of the latest technological advances. We were in uncharted territory as it was, so whatever did happen was sure to make history . Satellite Television would glow during its finest hour toward the end of the 1990’s. It would give consumers a more affordable option over cable TV and 100’s more channels to choose. Television, the biggest medium for advertising, would now enhance our viewing pleasure with crystal-clear picture reception. The average viewer was watching 7 hours of TV per day, and advertising would be precisely aimed at groups with targeted commercials. This was the golden egg for advertisers who would pay more dearly for primetime ad spots than ever before. Thanks to such a diverse range of available channels, ad campaigns would continue to target their markets based on demographics and market studies. The type of programming would determine what was marketed to whom and at what times of the day this would take place. Wireless communications would continue to develop near the end of the 1990’s while cordless phones, pagers and mobile phones became more popular. The nineties also saw the introduction of wireless computer networks, direct-broadcast satellite television, digital wireless cable TV networks and global phone service. Advertising would declare open season on each of these potential mediums in one way, shape or form.
Twenty-one years ago this month, while working at CERN, (The European Organization for Nuclear Research), Tim Berners-Lee handed a document to his supervisor Mike Sendall, entitled “Information Management: a Proposal”. “Vague, but exciting” is how Mike described it, and he gave Tim the nod to take his proposal forward. The following year, the World Wide Web was born. Originally developed in the fifties by the Pentagon, the Internet would now be open to what Marshall McLuhan could have previously referenced as the “global village” (Regent University). No one would know right away, what this meant to the world, let alone advertising, but Tim Berners-Lee would develop the first web page in HTML, the simple and easily to execute, universal language that makes up the internet. Web Masters would soon become “God” and advertisers everywhere would begin their “hat dance” with notions of tapping into this new medium and the challenges it may present. Just like in the early part of the century, ads would jump out at anyone and everyone whether they were looking to buy or not. It resembled the not so carefully composed ad campaigns of the early 20th century, when the advertisers would mass advertise to the population as a whole and take what consumers they could grab.
As more and more households were introduced to the internet it seemed as if history would once again repeat itself by the substantive effort advertisers made to throw any and every ad at you, with no regards to what the industry had learned throughout the carefully orchestrated marketing studies which the ad firms lived by so fervently. A consumer could not log on without being hit with a barrage of “Pop up” ads, “banner advertisements and/or spam advertisements through an open deluge of email atrocities’. Once again, it would take an Act of Congress to lay down a set of laws and principles to keep the spammers at bay with HR 3113, an anti-spam bill that would empower ISPs and individual e-mail users to sue spammers for a variety of violations. During this time cell phones, PDA’s and laptop computers would gain in popularity to a degree that it was actually an oddity to find someone without either. The technology behind this was key, and created a texting market by means of accessing the internet via ones cell phone or a wireless hotspot. Advertisers would follow suit with appropriately developed Mobile content and send a flurry of text messages across the screen of the cell phone in hopes of provoking the almighty “I’ve got to have THAT one”, attitude to buy.
Not only was this a new phenomenon for ad markets but anyone with an internet connection and a computer could advertise through this new medium. Any person with something to sell could now reach ANY market through the never-ending and far-reaching tentacles of the World Wide Web. Search engine optimization is a constantly changing and evolving process for advertisers. It is the refinement of website content, the development of inbound links to the website, and publicity about the website aimed at raising the position of the website in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Google and Yahoo! search would allow users to search for anything based on a few short key words or search phrases, putting in the hands of the user, the ability to choose, which advertisements they would like to see. Google would also create new advertising companies called Google AdSense and Google Adwords. The Adwords campaigns today allow companies to strategically place their ads based on what the user types in the search box. This can be very expensive but profitable to the properly orchestrated ad campaign. Google AdSense is different and allows owners of websites to place Google ad content on their own web pages. When someone on the website clicks thru the Google ads, Google pays the site owner for the click. This has turned out to be a lucrative venture for many as it allows the account holder to place ads, which only pertain to the content of the site. Any user that may not find what they are looking for on that site will find ads with similar content so they can enjoy their search moving forward, instead of backtracking and submitting a new search. This was designed to dynamically enhance a viewer’s internet experience. The world of search engines is forever evolving and placing companies higher or lower in the search page results based on popularity and keyword to content ratios. With the latest updates from Google, a user has the ability to finally promote an advertisement to the top of their list of search pages or simply remove them from the list altogether, never to be seen again in the results of that keyword search, by that user. Many advertisers disputed this type of update and accused Google of regulating their advertisements. The truth of the matter is, it allows consumers to tailor their searches to better conform to their needs as individuals instead of allowing the advertisements to come at them freely from every angle. This could be a model of things to come, as $12.5 billion would be spent on online advertising in 2005 alone. The internet is relatively new and accordingly to Tim Berners-Lee, “…it is not all done, we are at the tip of the iceberg”.


We have taken a brief but close look at the many faces of advertising throughout the last 100 years. From the days when the color of ink was BLACK and the most influential life style magazines of the 1920’s catered to the first “consumer” society, to the forever changing demographic market studies promoting the next targeted advertisement to an educated consumer. We have seen the success of an ad campaign that makes a connection with a group of people and we’ve witnessed the success of an ad campaign that makes a connection with the world.. Sometimes it is not just the idea but the timing chosen to implement the idea and more so, the culture of the people the ideas are marketed too. We have found that advertising is more than just the ad itself, there are many deeper issues, product placement, branding, public relations, strategic marketing and fundamentally, how each of us participate in our own seduction. As we enter the new millennium with new digitally advanced mediums for advertising we can rest assure that as long as there are people to advertise to, advertising will continue to advance along the social lines of the consumer as long as we continue to consume.


Johnston, Russell. “”Advertising”.” The Oxford Companion to Canadian History.


Library of Congress, “Coca-Cola Television Advertisements.” American Memory


Wallechinsky & Wallace, “Trivia on History of Advertising in America in the 1960’s and 1970’s Part 1


Berners-Lee, Tim. “Tim Berners-Lee.” Tim Berners-Lee.


Economist.com, “Internet Advertising the Ultimate Marketing machine.”


The Associated Press, “Web Inventor marks 20th anniversary; urges others to look ahead.”


Young, William. American Popular Culture Through History The 1950


Frank, Thomas. Conquest of Cool. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.


Labels: A 100-Year History of Advertising

A 101 on Weight Loss

It is well known that Americans have a weight problem. However, that problem can easily be dealt with through many different methods. The methods may seems “hard” or “extreme” to those that are not used to working out, or dieting, but, if you give them time, will help you lose weight, feel better about yourself, and be over all healthier.


BMI


As stated above, your BMI can be used against you. What is the BMI? By Dictionary.com “an index for assessing overweight and underweight, obtained by dividing body weight in kilograms by height in meters squared: a measure of 25 or more is considered overweight” (this calculation is for non-Americans.)


There is a problem with BMI. The BMI formula does not take into account such things as body type, and muscle mass. This can lead one to having an inflated BMI, and having higher premiums or even being denied insurance. Obviously, this can lead to various issues.


Also, there are handy charts out there that can give you a different idea on what your BMI means for you. Here is one such, from livestrong.com.


BMI Weight Status


Below 18.5 Underweight


18.6-24.9 Normal


25 – 29.9 Overweight


30 and above Obese


This chart doesn’t go into much detail, but it is there. A simple web search can give many more charts, most of them have handy calculators with them. This article isn’t going to be to concerned with BMI, do to the above stated reasons.


Body Fat


Also called Body Fat Percentage. This is really the important number. The higher your body fat, the more likely you are to have various health issues. But, what causes body fat? Well, a few things really.


Obviously, the higher the fat content of your diet. If you eat a large number of fatty foods (high sugar, deep fried), then you are going to have a higher fat content. However, even if you cut all the fatty foods out of your diet, there’s still problems.


Calories. 3,500 calories are equal to one pound of fat. Now, that number is a bit misleading. Really, it’s 3,500 calories over the amount of calories that you burn in a day. Those calculations are a bit to complicated for this article, and there are MANY different views on them. However, that is a number to remember.


Everyone has seen the “Based on a 2,000 calorie diet” on nutritional information. If you haven’t, look on anything that has that on it’s side/back. The number shows the amount of calories that the item has, and it’s percentage compared to an average diet. The key word is average. You may need more of less calories in a day to keep your current weight. If you have a desk job, and read/play video games when you are home, you will need less. If you work as a waiter/waitress, then you are going to need more. That is why someone that is active on a regular basis can eat a large amount of food, and not gain weight.


Now, you need body fat to be healthy. Again, a handy chart of the percentages:


Description Women Men


Essential fat 10-13% 2-5%


Athletes 14-20% 6-13%


Fitness 21-24% 14-18%


Average 25-31% 18-24%


Obese 32%+ 25%+


Keep in mind, this is just one chart. I have not been able to find any “official” chart from any government site for body fat.


Get onto it….


Ok, we have talked about a few things, now it’s time to learn how to deal with these issues. So, how does one go about losing body weight?


Well, simple. Diet and exercise. And, yes, both of them. You CAN lose weight by doing only one, but it will take longer then doing both.


Diet


As stated above, 3,500 calories equal one pound. So, that means that you want you USE more calories than you consume. Should be easy right? If you eat 6,000 calories a day, cutting your diet in half will cause you to lose a pound a die.


This will also cause you to have many health issues.


So, for safety, it is recommend you lose around two pounds a week, or ten pounds every five weeks. Notice, five weeks. A lot of articles out there will say a month, but not tell you that a month for this is a five week period.


So, how do you do this? First, is learning to eat correctly. At least at first, this may be harder than starting to work out. You are used to eating things, things that you enjoy the taste of. You are used to eating a certain amount of food at each meal, but now you have to cut back. While learning to eat correctly, you will be hungry. However, hunger isn’t your body NEEDING food (all the time), just just means that your body is expecting food.


Most nutritionists recommend eating multiple times a day. Every three hours or so a small snack will curb the hunger, and you will feel fuller at meals.


However, how do you make sure that you are on target?


This is simple, keep a log. Write down everything you eat or drink in the day, and the calories in them. You can do this with pen and paper, a computer program, website, or even phone apps. Many of these are free, and have calculations that will help you find a calorie goal to lose weight, and to make sure you get your various nutrients.


Obviously, there are the various fad diets. Most of these WILL NOT HELP YOU! Why? Simple, they don’t teach you to eat. Instead of teaching you the healthy way to make a meal, they are bogged down with some sort of point system. They may indeed help you lose weight, but what happens when you no longer are in need of the weight lose? Or, you are going to a restaurant that doesn’t use the system?


Then there are diets such as Low Protein (needed to build muscles, see below), or Low Carb (which gives you fuel). Both of these are things that your body needs to exist. Now, most Americans get to much of both, but to cut to the levels that these diets say you should, is not healthy.


Now, I’m not saying that there are those that can use the above diets, and keep weight off. Some people can. The majority cannot, however.


Then there are diets that are just plain unhealthy. Any “cleansing” diet fits this. Yes, you will lose weight. No, it is not healthy. Your body needs food to survive. Even going a few days without food can damage your body in various ways, and is not a good idea.


Working out


First, there are two types of exercise. Cardio, and Resistance. And, yes, you need both to be able to effectively shed the pounds.


Even though now, most people know you need exercise to lose weight, and to stay healthy, multiple studies have shown that men and women generally do half the work (and that men are less likely to diet while losing weight). The majority of women concentrate on Cardio, while the majority of men concentrate on resistance.


So, what’s the difference? Cardio, which is such activities as walking, swimming, bike riding, etc…, burns more calories, and increases stamina. Resistance, the biggest one that most people will think of is weight lifting, burns less calories, but increases muscle mass.


Each is important in its own way, but I’ll take it one at a time.


Cardio, as stated above, burns more calories. And this is good. The more calories you burn, the more you can eat, and still lose weight. Also, the increased stamina that you gain means that you can spend more time working out (even if it’s window shopping at the mall), therefore, once again, burning more calories.


Now, a misconception that many have. Doing a cardio activity faster generally burns LESS calories then doing the same activity slower for the same amount of time. The reasons for such are debated. This means walking for four miles in an hour, burns less calories then walking those four miles in two hours.


Now, most people at least do SOME cardio while working out, but so many miss the next point.


Resistance training is not only lifting weights, and using machines. You get the same from such activities as push ups, pull ups, crunches, etc. Any activity that gives some sort of challenge to the muscles. I’m not going to go into detail on the various types, and their pros and cons in this article, but a simple search on this site will give you more detail.


Now, why is it important? Well, a few reasons. A pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat being one. Muscle fiber is denser than fat, just like steel is denser than a feathers. However, the most important reason? That pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat.


Now, many people (mostly female) don’t want to do resistance training because they don’t want to have a ton of muscles. Well, you don’t have to. Even getting a wirier frame (such as, say, Bruce Lee) means that you have to use some resistance training. The type of training is different. More reps, less weight.


Also, most people can use some extra strength. And the only way to build strength? That’s right, resistance training.


Now, even though this is more a 101 on weight loss, I do feel that I need to put some warnings in here. Any exercise done incorrectly can lead to injury, and possibly death. Do not attempt something that you have not been trained on doing, or have at least a very good grasp of safety features. Also, be aware that prior injuries can make some exercises difficult, or even impossible. Nine times out of ten, it is safer to have a buddy with you when doing ANY exercise, not only for safety, but for encouragement as well.


Two of the “golden rules” of exercise are…kinda wrong. No pain no gain? It should be, no soreness, no gain. Pain, on the other hand, means something is wrong. Also, the idea that if you’re not sweating you’re not working hard enough is also bunk. Sweat is your bodies way of cooling off. If you’re not overheated, you won’t sweat.


Last but not least


The last word of advice. Do not give up. You are NOT on this journey alone. Many of us are trying to get in shape, and there are many support groups out there. Taking a break sometimes, it happens. Not paying attention and over eating, or forgetting to hit the gym, happens. But you have to take the time to put yourself back on the wagon, and not forget the reasons you are attempting to get into shape.


Labels: A 101 on Weight Loss

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