Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

EarthFare Sale

Thursday, January 29, 2009 By

20% OFF EVERYTHING IN THE STORE (including beer and wine) on Thursday, February 5, 2009.

Lost in My Nerdiness

S.S.: "Does anyone watch 'Lost?'"
Me: "Me!"
S.S.: "Did you understand last night's episode?"
Me: "Yeah, it was awesome."
S.S.: "I didn't get it."
Me: "Did you watch the one before it?"
S.S.: "Yes!"
Me: "The enhanced one?"
S.S.: "Enhanced?"
Me: "With the little pop-up explanations to catch you up?"
S.S.: "No, but I watched last week..."
Me: "Yeah, but it's been, like, an entire gestational period since the last new episode, so -"
S.S. (interrupting): "Whatever. I regret even bringing this up."

Hey, if You Had 50-Pounds Strapped to Your Waist for Three Months, You'd be Pissed, Too

As a former co-worker slow-waddles out of the office...

B.O.: "Have a pleasant birthing experience!"
(general laughter)
S.S.: "May your epidural take you to a happy place!"
(more laughter)
A.C.: "Yeah, I don't do those."
(laughter is silenced)

Overheard at Work...

H.O.: "Is this ad a pick-up or something new?"
B.O.: "Get off my ass!"
H.O.: "Shut up!"
Me: "I love you guys."

Ugh. Me Like Inches. And Hoo-has...

"How did I know that was you calling me?" I asked my friend, A.C.

"I would have called you immediately, but I was having my hoo-ha examined," she answered.

"Nice. Good morning, Stacey. Let's talk about my hoo-ha," I laughed. "So how is it this morning?"

"About 75% effaced, and a fingertip dilated," she moaned.

"What, that's like... 3 centimeters?"

"No! It's not even 1 centimeter!"

"Yuhuh!" I turn to my co-worker, A.C.2, and hold up my finger. "Isn't that more than a centimeter?"

"I don't know how much a centimeter is," she answered.

"What - didn't you go to elementary school?"

"Do you know how long it's been since I went to elementary school? We didn't have the metric system back then," A.C.2 scoffs.

A.C. guffaws on the phone: "Did she just say they didn't have the metric system?"

"Yeah, back when they were carving the system out in rocks, A.C.2 was graduating Georgia Southern with the other cave people," I laughed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Augusta Business says, "Con Us"

AUGUSTA, GA. - WGAC News/Talk 580 and NBC Augusta have been following a story about military personnel - and businesses wanting to market to military bases - having allegedly been scammed by a local "publishing company" called MilPubs Inc.

See the info here; And here.

eVince Unlimited blogged about it here, and their sales rep replied to the post. Let me dissect her response:

"Hi Kenny. Of course the business is running like there isn’t anything wrong…..because there isn’t anything wrong."

Except that there's nothing to show for these people's money. No publication, nothing.

"Being a business owner yourself, you should know from dealing with the public that you can’t please all of your customers at all times."

Um, isn't that the goal
?

"Fort Gordon is the only area, we were told, that our customers have a complaint."

Because that's the only area in which you are running this business. The other areas are handled by other franchisees.

"We apologize that those clients feel like they were done wrong and we have made every attempt to amend with those clients. Some chose to amend, and some chose not to."

What does that even mean? Amend? Amend how?


"We chose not to speak to reporters because we will let our work speak for itself."

What work? You couldn't show reporter Ashley Campbell a SINGLE EXAMPLE of that work.

"We also chose not to release the names of our contacts on Fort Gordon to protect the relationship that we have with them on current and future projects."

As far as we can tell, your relationship would only with the U.S. Post Office - IF YOU HAD EVER PRINTED AND MAILED ANYTHING. So what contacts are protecting?

"My point Mr. Adams? Those who run scams hide from their victims. We have not ran, are not running, and will not run because we have nothing to run from."

We have also never used grammar check. Way to go, you professional publishers, you.

"We have been in the same building for over a year..."

Whoopidee do. It's a friggin' car wash with a single computer older than Methuselah.

"...and maintain an open door policy to all of our clients. You came to our office to bring me your ad design and we welcome our other clients as well. Your readers can check your ad and others out at http://www.usmilitarydiscounts.com, under the discount link."

Because they are printed so small, many of those ads cannot be used. For example, the names of the mortgage brokers in the GA Bank & Trust ad are so small that if you wanted to work with a particular broker, you couldn't ask for them by name. And if you click through the Charter Communications ad, it takes you to a promotional page where it asks for a promotional code. Can you find the code? Go ahead, look! It's right next to Waldo.

"Mil Pub Inc. is not registered in the states of GA or NV, but CONUS Advertising/Mil Pub Inc. is."

First of all: Please note that the name breaks into "Con Us." Second: Geez, lady, did you think I couldn't check that? There WERE businesses under the name of CONUS registered in the state... but none of them were ever located in Augusta, and they have all been either automatically dissolved (they didn't renew their incorporation), or they have been withdrawn. Here, search for yourself:

"I thank you for your blog and trying to warn your readers of potential buyer bewares and allowing me to speak our side of the issue. If I remember correctly, there are 3 sides to every story; your side, their side, and the absolute truth……Let us please wait for the ABSOLUTE truth Mr. Adams. I look forward to speaking to you real soon. Have a blessed beautiful day."

Okay, aside from the grammatical issues, I'd like to ask: What, exactly, are the supposed to be waiting for? And why should they have to wait any longer? Why should it take attention from major media in the area to get them to print anything?

"And just another correction Mr. Adams; we never tell our clients that we are CONTRACTED with any base to produce a pulication."

Nor do we say that we have CONTRACT with Microsoft to provide a simple spell check with our office software.

"We don’t say that we have a D.O.D (Department of Defense) contract with the government to provide our publication. We are a civilian company that produces a publication just as other civilian companies who do the same."

And as any other civilian company, you need permission to distribute to the soldiers stationed on Fort Gordon. If you don't have it, you are still lying to your customers, whether you claim to have a contract or not.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Overheard at Work...

B.O.: "Stop being a Facebook whore! Intervention! Intervention!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Santa Clause: Why Lying To Your Children is the Best Option

AUGUSTA, GA. - When a headline makes you cringe, it’s either so heinous that it inspires international tribunals, or it hits so close to home that that it borders on Universal Truth. Before readers convene the tribunal, consider my defense of my belief that lying to children is a good thing: the ongoing “mystery” of an elderly magical elf who creeps into even the most well secured homes across the world – hello, the White House? – to deliver trinkets wrapped in quasi-religious overtones. In other words, consider this a pact among adults that I call “The Santa Claus.” What?! Hey, Tim Allen stole it from me!

First, the lying that adults do to children is mostly harmless. Playful and light-heated protective lying doesn’t scar children, or else teenagers would be running like mad from cabbage patches and storks. No, the lies of omission and substitution that we tell our children are like Saran Wrap over their brains. It keeps them new and safe from corruptive outside influences.

Our little innocents are not the proposed “tabula rasa” waiting to be filled with humanity’s infinite wisdom, and anyone who has raised a child from infancy knows this. Each child has his or her own personality from birth. And all children know how to lie. When my nephew was four, he told me that his teacher put snakes in his stomach. My own daughter tells me that "my daddee says I can eat all da cannee right now" just about every day. They are both adorably full of crap. And so am I.

That's because lying is fun! When I was younger, I flipped through an art book of my mother’s and paused on “Christina’s World,” by painter Andrew Wyeth. My father strolled by: “Do you know why she’s sitting in the field?” he pointed to the prairie girl in the foreground. “She’s been run over by a tractor and is waiting for someone from the house to come and help her.” My 7-year-old self was horrified. My adult self clings to that exchange as one of my favorite “dad stories.” Note to readers: Don’t play cards with that man.

Lying is fantasy, and fantasy is the stuff of legend. Far be it from me to tell my child that she cannot pull a sword from a stone, or that Elvis is dead. I refuse to be some good-natured rationalist who drains all of the magic from her childhood. Yes, Emerson, there is a Santa Claus. And Mommy has his telephone number and e-mail address. So you’d better watch out.

Anyway, life is already difficult. We owe it to our offspring to give them a joyous childhood. If that means that we feed them crap about how a fat guy in a red suit breaks-and-enters your home every winter, then fine. It they believe that an egg-laying rabbit does the same in Spring, great. I mean, it’s really all about Jesus, right? As the Lord transformed, so doth the bunny? Or something?

The truth is that we already lie to our children. A study of 3,000 parents found every day each mum or dad will tell at least one fib to get their offspring to comply with their wishes. So we’re only lying to ourselves if we don’t acknowledge and embrace it. The stance I take simply asks you to use that skill to your strategic advantage. That’s why they’re so well behaved in December.

To speak the unabridged, unmitigated truth in all things to our children is to deny the storytelling history of humanity. Metaphor and myth have a right to exist without open analysis. Because believing in magic, or legend, or fairy tales is to inspire a child to be more than he or she ever dreamed was humanly possible. And that elevates us all.

The Dream of Every Woman of a Certain Age

Emmie won't turn four, really, until Wednesday, but we had her party yesterday, and let her think it was her birthday. Because it's not like she understands time, anyway.

All day, she would randomly shriek at friends and strangers alike"ISS MY BIRFDAY! I FOUR YEARS OLD!" sometimes adding, "DAS MEAN I'M A BIG GIRL! AN' I'M A PRINCESS!" And everyone would nod and laugh.

She was excited about the party, not the presents. She and her little friends rampaged through Chuck E. Cheese for two hours, and then she stayed behind with my sister for another three hours while I went home and tried to sleep my sinus infection away (didn't work).

I expected her to sleep through the night, because of all the activity. But at 5 a.m., she came trudging to my bedside, sniffling and crying.

"Mama? Mama!"
"Yes, sweetie?"
"I'm sad..."
"Why, honey?"
"'Cause I turn back to free!"
"I don't understand..."
"I turn back to free years old!"

Oh, would that we all could wake up a year younger...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Emmie for President!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Blackberry!

After the six months of continuous problems at T-Mobile, they finally just sent me a new telephone. I unwrap it at work with great excitement.

B.O.: "Why do you have a new Blackberry?"
Me: "Because I am awesome."
B.O.: "... You don't even know how to use it, do you?"
Me.: "Uh... no."

And then I had to have S.S. put in the memory card and the battery.

Monday, January 19, 2009

As Long as it Comes with a Pot of Gold...

AUGUSTA, GA. - "Mama, I'm goeend gib you a special treat."
"OOooh, what is it?"
"I not goeend tell you. Iss goeend be a secret."
"But when do I find out?"
"Iss goeend be a toy rainbow!"

I don't think she knows what a secret is.

Communication is the Key...

Scott lost his keys today...

"I think Emmie had them last," he said.
"Blame it on the three-year-old," I teased.

Emmie had been messing around on the piano yesterday. But they weren't under the keyboard cover, or under any of the furniture, or in her toyboxes, or in her shoe holder, or in the kitchen, or the laundry, or in the bed covers, or under the beds... We looked everywhere. But after about a hour of this foolishness, I called the preschool. Surely the majority of the parents there are infinitely more responsible than we are. They have extra sets of keys, and tracking devices, and... schedules and calendars and stuff like that. We only have the "Honey have you seen my keys" method of tracking, and the "Do we have plans this weekend?" "I dunno... do we?" method of scheduling.

"Hi, mama! I play wit my friends," Emerson chirped.
"That sounds like fun! Now, mommy has something important to ask you. Are you listening very carefully?" I asked. "You 'nember when you playing with daddy's keys?"
"Uh-huh!"
"Do you 'nember where you put them?"
"Hmm.. I put dem somewhere..." she mused.
"I need you to think very hard, sweetie."
"Yeth, I put them in da piano!"

I relayed this information to Scott, and we looked carefully, opening everything that moved on the 100-year-old contraption. Nothing.

"Honey, are you sure you put them in the piano?"
"Yeth, I put them in da piano, and den I hide dem."

No Crap.

"But where did you hide them, sweetie?"
"In da piano."
"Where else could they be, darling?"
"I put dem somewhere..."
"After you played with them at the piano, where else did you play with them?"
"I not!"
"Sweetie, there's nothing wrong. We just need to find them."
"I put dem somewhere..."
"Yes, but where? You were playing at the piano, and then where did you go?"
"I go to da laundry, and den to da toilet."

Yet after tearing the house apart - and debating whether or not to call a plumber - we find no keys. Scott calls work for the spare set. I go on, finish my day, and pick up Emmie from Nona's house. Though it has been 10 hours since our discussion and I have not mentioned the keys to her again, when we get home she goes straight to the piano...

...and pulls out the damn keys.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Don't Try This at Home - or in the Newsroom!

AUGUSTA, GA. - Scott and I frequently discuss the ethics and/or "relative admissibility" of writing for newspapers and radio - and even television. The guy on Fox News on the Thursday night that plane crashed into the Hudson River had us dying with laughter. If a cliche existed that he could throw into the conversation, he used it. "Baited breath," "near-death experience," "emotionally charged," "grim task," "the right stuff," "hero's welcome..." On top of all of that, he inserted himself into the story, saying that he, personally, was brought to tears by the experience of watching the rescue.

I couldn't find out who the reporter was. I tried. I think he was a reporter for the local NYC Fox affiliate, because he was so charged to be in front of the camera that he was either just off the plane from competing in a season of "Survivor," or he was nearly scalped by the fuselage as the plane came down over the Hudson River.

It's very nearly a cliche now for a journalist to quote Mark Twain, who said, "Journalism is literature in a hurry." But his point - besides that journalism is both a watered-down version to timeless prose, and that it should be respected because there are few opportunities to edit - was also that people look to journalism for the elements of fine literature. Obviously, the inclusion of a monomyth isn't possible, due to the restrictions of the genre. But well-defined characters, a clear storyline and an accurate account of any event - measured with concision - ensures that the news is both palatable to an largely uneducated populace, and it also provides them with the kind of writing that makes them want to return to the medium for what is essentially a really enjoyable yarn.

Fox News... yeah. There ARE reasons, other than politics, that people refuse to tune in to your coverage.*

*The local affiliate, thankfully, is ably run by the newsroom at the NBC affiliate. Otherwise, it might hurt me the way the national station does.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Facebook Marketing Reaches a New Demographic

AUGUSTA, GA. - Put away your hankies, people, I'm not leaving The Metro Spirit or Augusta Parent. But an opportunity arose locally that was too good to refrain from exploring its possibilities. I was excited by the idea, but unsure what to actually expect once the interviews started. I got three interviews in and... you ever have one of those moments in time when all is revealed to you? I had one.

When the HR director waxed poetic about how "in touch" these people were with the 21st century, I was excited. I thought, "Here's an opportunity to contribute to a great organization, and to learn from some real experts in interactive and e-marketing."

Then a man asked me "How can we utilize Facebook to our benefit?" So I pitched the idea of a branded, interactive sports game on the site. He shook his head with a slight frown and said, "I understand that you can create pages around certain topics." I replied that that topical pages are available, and there are several that currently talk about the organization he represented. And he said, "Right, and people can choose to become fans of the site we put up. It could inspire people to get involved."

Someone just thought: "Yes! That is a great idea!" That is the wrong response. The correct response is: "No. They're just going to click "Become a fan" and never think about it again."

I just responded, "It would appeal to a younger demographic and if utilized regularly, it could generate some interest." But, I wanted to add, it's not like you're a retail organization or someone with regular public events. What good would will it really do you? The CEO of Morgan Stanley isn't going to "friend" you on Facebook!

What do you think? Was I missing an opportunity there? Who has ideas about marketing through Facebook? I'd love to hear them!

Monday, January 12, 2009

This Train is Bound For Glory

Scott, pausing while channel flipping: "I don't know what they're selling, but I want it."

I look up. It's two elderly women in suits, standing on a parquet floor with microphones, waiting awkwardly for something to happen. I don't even have to think about what they intend.

"They're selling Jesus, honey. I think that's obvious."

Government Schools at Their Most Mediocre

Monday, January 12, 2009 By

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kids' birthday parties are a blast!

3 p.m. - I'm at a birthday party for one of Emmie's classmates. I don't know any of the other parents. But the idea of a gymnastics party at the Family Y is about the cutest thing ever! The preschoolers are learning to do flips, use the springboard, walk on the balance beam, jump down the trampoline, and keep a giant inflatable octopus in the air. Okay, I'm not sure how that last one relates to gymnastics, but they're having fun.

3:30 p.m. - I think someone might get killed soon. They've all lost their minds. There's a fight for dominance on the trampoline, several children doing flips right on top of each other, and one little boy keeps knocking down the foam block house so the kids on the springboard have nowhere to spring!

3:40 p.m. - Emerson is bouncing down a trampoline & her pants are falling down.

4 p.m. - They have spotted the cake, but it's not time to eat yet! Who will survive the stampede?!

4:03 - Oooo, saved by the foosball table... for now. Watching kids in packs is like watching a flock of birds fly. They all turn as one, seem to think as one.

4:08 p.m. - I laughed at the abundance of identical gift bags. Everyone bought the bright pink bags @ Target.

4:20 p.m. - Em has kicked me out of the party room. "Das enuff, mama. Yoo go ober der." Dang. I want some cake.

4:35 p.m. - Ah, the presents. 3 yr olds love 2 give them... But they insist on getting them back!

5 p.m - Like clockwork, it is over. Gabby got quite the haul! I'm impressed with the generosity of the parents who came, and the manners of the preschoolers who attended. They were excited, but mostly controlled, and said please and thank you. Most of them waited until everyone had been served cake to dig into their own, and they all openly appreciated the treat bags and balloons at the end. All in all, a great party. Thanks, Gabby's mom!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Report: Toddlers Mimic Parents' Speech

K.J. was getting her 4-year-old ready to go to school.

K.J.: "Come on, Hannah! Hurry hurry! We gotta get ready for work and you gotta go to school. We gotta get dressed and get breakfast. Because if we don't get breakfast..."

Hannah: "We're screwed!"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Glamour Shots Closes Augusta Store

AUGUSTA, GA. - Just contacted the corporate offices for the Augusta store (#23) and they tell me that it was closed this week. No more airbrushed awesomeness. Too bad.

How Journalists Often Feel

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Copy Editors at News Enterprise Show Dry Sense of Humor

Pot 'syndicate' to have joint trial

ELIZABETHTOWN – A judge chose Tuesday to consolidate cases against six people charged with engaging in organized crime for what investigators say was a network of cultivation, interstate trade and sales of marijuana.

To be blunt, it's work like this that weeds good editors from bad. You can't roll them all into one group. Besides, it's a chronic problem that writers get all the glory. No need to be a buzzkill about it: Sometimes editors need a fair shake.

Thanks to Jim Christian for the link.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Local Newspaper Web Site Hacked by Chinese

The Metro Spirit website has been taken down in an assault by Chinese terrorists! I'm just kidding. We don't know what happened, but someone hacked our site. I think that's annoyingly awesome.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Fraud Surrounds U.S. Military Bases

AUGUSTA, GA. - Local radio reporter Scott Hudson (my husband) has had a second story picked up by CBS News in the last couple of months. First, it was his coverage of Sarah Palin's promotion of her support of Saxby Chambliss at the James Brown Arena. This time, it's more serious: Hudson has uncovered what looks to be fraud at several U.S. military bases, including at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, Ga.

Hudson was alerted to the issue when Magic Wonder Day Care claimed to have been taken for $600. Other Augusta businesses came forward. In time, Hudson procured documentation that seems to show that one organization - selling to businesses wanting to attract enlisted members of the armed forces - is providing no more service than a Facebook page could provide.

Tune in to WGAC News/Talk 580 and CBS News to learn more.