M/A/R/C Research
Search the blog:

Archive for November, 2009

Daddy’s Little Girl . . . Is So Funny!

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Over the past week, my 3-year-old daughter has said some of the funniest things and I thought I would share a few of them:

  • My brothers make me so angry!
     
  • Daddy, are you speeding?
     
  • Riley, you stink you should take a shower!
     
  • Daddy, don’t I look so beautiful?

All classics! Kids say the funniest things sometimes, and I will always remember these times!

  • What are the funniest things that your kids have said to you?
     
  • Any classics from your grandchildren?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Sports Fans: Do You Agree Or Disagree With Me?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Do the NY Yankees repeat in 2010? This is a painful discussion for me to have. Clearly they will have the highest payroll in baseball and they will make the playoffs in 2010 for sure. The question is do they repeat? This hasn’t happened since the NY Yankees did it in 1999 and then again in 2000. Even though the Yankees will be the favorite to repeat, I believe they will come up short in 2010. Do you agree?

The Boston Celtics win their division by 20 games? The Celtics are great, and if their big three stay injury free they will go to the NBA finals. Their division is horrible and they should coast and win it by 20 games! Do you agree?

Indianapolis Colts play the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl? Both teams are 9-0 and lost along the way but both records are still unblemished and undefeated. I say no that only will they not meet in the Super Bowl. NEITHER team makes it! Do you agree?

Is Tiger Woods slowing down? He has had some injuries and hasn’t won a major since the US Open in 2008. I don’t believe he is slowing down. He is still the best in that sport and has a chance to win every single week. Do you agree?

Terrell Owens plays for a good team in 2010? As I type away, Owens is on a pace for less than 50 catches for the year. His days in Buffalo are almost over and he needs to forget about signing for the most money and signing with a good team with a great quarterback. Perhaps he should call Randy Moss and get some advice. Do you agree?

I look forward to reading your comments, opinions, and whether you agree or disagree with me.

Also please let all the readers know if you have any other predictions you would like to toss out.

He Is Back . . . Guest Writer Ed Sugar Has Something To Say . . .

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Last night’s game went into overtime, so Merrill asked me to cover for him today.

As I have mentioned on previous posts, I have many passions in life (baseball, English soccer, food, travel) and high on the list is music.  Growing up I was always listening to and purchasing music. 

Sometime ago, my friend (JH), who teaches elementary school and has a seventeen year old daughter, commented to me that kids today, due to the popularity of downloading individual songs (MP3 files) often have no concept of what a music album is. This statement resonated with me as I have always been one who has had a greater appreciation for a full album of recorded work and the sequence of the songs, rather than just the individual single hit song. 

I thought:

"Are we truly seeing the demise of the recorded album?"

"Will the future of music consist of nothing but a series of unrelated individual MP3 files?"

"Are we witnessing another seismic shift in the decline of western civilization?"

I am happy to report that in the past year, there has been a new trend that has eased this concern of mine. Some noted bands and performers have started playing full length albums, from beginning to end in the proper song order/sequence.  I was first aware of this in 2008, when a reunited Fairport Convention played their 1973 classic album "Leige And Lief" from beginning to end.  Early in 2009, Van Morrison toured performing his acclaimed 1971 "Astral Weeks" album.  This summer Steely Dan’s tour consisted of every night playing, from beginning to end, one of their classic albums.  I went to one their shows in Los Angeles and saw them perform the entire "Gaucho" album from 1980. 

With the demise of the album has being put on "the back burner", this trend of devoting an entire concert to one classic album got me day dreaming:

"If I could see any singer or group (past or present), what album would I like them to perform from start to finish? And what unique concert venue would this concert take place?"

I easily thought of a dozen of acts and albums that I would like to see and topping my list was:

Brian Eno and John Cale, at the Roxy Theatre (West Hollywood) performing their 1990 album "Wrong Way Up" .  This is probably my all time favorite album and seeing/hearing it performed live at the Roxy circa 1976 (when the joint had tables and seats) would be a dream come true for me. 

My runners-up were:

The Jam, at the Marquee Club (London) playing "All Mod Cons" from 1978.

Dave Edmunds and Rockpile, at a county fair, performing "Repeat When Necessary" on a flat bed truck — that would be classic.

Lee Morgan at Dante’s (LA jazz club) performing his 1963 album "The Sidewinder"

Bob Dylan and the Band, at the Santa Monica Civic, playing "Blood On The Tracks". 

So now it is your turn.  Pick a singer or band, past or present.  Put them in your favorite concert hall, club or arena. 

What album would you like to see them perform from start to finish in the exact order as they appeared on the initial release? 

  • Are you a Sinatra fan who would love to see "Ol’ Blue Eyes" perform "Songs For Swingin’ Lovers" at the Sands in Vegas?
   
  • How about the Beatles playing "Sgt. Peppers" at the Royal Albert Hall?
     
  • Or Luciano Pavarotti performing Puccini’s "La Bohème" at La Scala?
     
  • Would you like to see Bruce and the E Street Band play "Born To Run" at the Stone Pony (Asbury, NJ)?
     
  • Or Miles Davis and his classic "Birth of The Cool" at Birdland?

I look forward to reading your picks and hearing if you agree with me about the importance of music albums versus individual songs.

~ Guest Blogger Ed Sugar ~

I Do, I Do And They Did It Their Way!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a friend’s wedding. First of all congratulations to J.O. and D.Y. Like most of you, I have attended a lot of weddings and most of them are the same.

This one was different for so many reasons:

  • They asked the guests to arrive one hour prior to the ceremony so they could spend time with them before the wedding
     
  • They faced their guests during the ceremony
     
  • They held hands the entire ceremony
     
  • They left flowers on a chair on behalf of all of their family who had passed on and couldn’t attend the ceremony
     
  • The couple wrote the entire ceremony (which was beautiful) and the minister actually cried during the service
     
  • All of the guests signed a long white scarf when we arrived and during the ceremony they commented on the scarf and actually wanted all of their friends to be around them when they got married and had the scarf draped over both of them
     
  • After the ceremony, they went around to everyone and kissed them prior to going into the cocktail hour

I was so impressed with the level of detail of everything they did. They said "I Do" and frankly did it their way!

  • Have you attended a wedding where the couple did some different things?
     
  • What’s the best thing you remember about your wedding?
     
  • Other than your own, describe the best wedding you have ever attended.

I look forward to reading your comments.

When Was The Last Time You Did Something Nice For A Total Stranger?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

I had an early morning flight so I found myself having breakfast at TGIF at DFW airport. As I looked up I noticed two people at the table next to me engaged in a conversation while they were enjoying their breakfast. I also noticed they are in the military and one of the gentlemen’s last name was Kidder. As I was handed my check I noticed they asked for theirs at the same time and the server had mentioned that their check was taken care of by another guest. They were thankful, quite surprised and very appreciative that someone anonymously had done that.

Clearly that was a great kind gesture.

It got me to think about the times that I have done something nice or paid for something for a total stranger. Here are a few things I came up with.

Recently, I brought a total stranger into the Admiral’s Club. I had been flying back to Dallas, and sat next to a person on the plane who was elderly and very sweet. He had a two hour layover. Even though Dallas was my destination, I walked him into the club.

About a year ago, I was at the register and someone didn’t have enough money and I offered to pay for them. It was only about seven dollars but I thought it was the right thing to do.

About two months ago I was getting my shoes shined in NY and started to chat with the guy sitting next to me. After I was done and said good bye to the shoe shine guy and the man, I said to him, "I enjoyed speaking with you and your shine is on me."

  • When was the last time you did something nice for a total stranger?
     
  • Did you ever buy a stranger anything?
     
  • Have you ever treated the military to a free meal?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Yes It Was Ugly, Mean, And Had Sharp Teeth, But I Still Decided To Save It. . .

Monday, November 16th, 2009

So there I was getting out of my car on a Wednesday night at 9:00pm. I was in shorts and the sweat was still streaming down my face from my workout.

Out of nowhere I hear this voice yell out my name. It is pitch black and I can’t see anything, but I hear my name spoken for a second time. I look around and see my neighbors calling me over to their property. As I got closer they said there is a possum stuck between our fences. Of course I had this look of, "Are you kidding me? And of course even if it was true, what do you want me to do about it?"

Finally I said, "Ok let me see." Sure enough I hold the flashlight to the fenced in area where this ugly-looking possum was not only looking at me but hissing and showing me what appeared to be a TON of sharp teeth. My next door neighbors are talking and say we could hit it over the head or call animal control.

After discussion we decided to help the possum. I said do you have something that we could use to push it back towards my property and see if that helps. My next door neighbor responds with "How about a broom? We can put it in its mouth and push it out that way?"

After pausing for a second (yes in shock that he said it), I responded with "I am no possum expert, but if we put a broom stick in its mouth and push it back, it might hurt a ton – just my opinion."

Anyway we went over to my property to see if I had anything a little more gentle and sure enough I did. Now I am standing a few feet behind this disgusting looking animal and can only see its back and of course it is still hissing. I could see what it was caught on and finally was able (without hurting it) to gently push it through the fence.

As it scurried away into the woods, the three of us actually felt good about saving the animal.

  • Have you ever saved an animal?
     
  • Can you describe the experience?

Look forward to reading your comments.

Are Trucks Interesting? These Are. Check It Out.

Friday, November 13th, 2009

A few years ago an ad agency in Germany sponsored a contest involving decorating truck trailers with clever ad artwork.

Here are seven mock-ups of European trucks whose trailers are decorated to look like the sides are missing and the products they are hauling are painted on the sides and back.

 

The first one is of a bottle of beer and looks so real, like it’s coming out the side of the trailer.

 

The second is of a canvas tote bag.

 

The third is of Pepsi cases and they are all stacked on the ceiling, and the bottom of the trailer is empty.

 

The fourth is of another truck with the windshield facing the back and there has been a driver painted in the driver’s seat looking back over his shoulder to appear like he is driving backwards.

 

The fifth one is of an aquarium with fish swimming in it.

 

The sixth one is of a bookshelf with books lined up in it and a post-it-note with an advertisement on it, probably for the company that sells the books.

 

The last one is for Pringles-Hot & Spicy. The ‘inside’ of the trailer has the appearance of having been through a fire.

 

I thought all of these are very clever–so clever that I might look too long and get in an accident. I love the aquarium truck, very clever, real and beautiful to look at.

  • Do you like this concept of advertising?
     
  • Do you think it works?
     
  • Have you ever advertised on trucks?
     
  • Which truck is your favorite?

I look forward to reading your comments.

What Is Your Favorite Car/Van/Bus On TV Shows?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Over the years all of us have probably watched thousands and thousands of TV shows and noticed lots of different things. For me I always enjoyed what cars the actors and actresses were driving.

Do you remember the A-Team’s GMC C-Series van? Who could forget the Ferraris in Miami Vice – used to love to see Don Johnson driving fast in the streets of Miami while wearing his white suit with white shoes.  Of course Tom Selleck also drove a Ferrari in Magnum PI. And of course there were the funky, crazy Batmobile, the Munster Koach and the Partridge Family bus.

For me there are two shows and cars that were my favorite. I really like James Garner who starred in the Rockford Files. Great show and I really liked the Pontiac Firebird he drove, I also loved the show Vegas. Dan Tanna played by Robert Urich drove a really cool, sleek red 1957 Ford Thunderbird. I must admit I thought Dan and the car were the greatest.

Ok your turn.

  • Did you watch a TV show because of a car?
     
  • What was your favorite car/van/bus on a TV show?
     
  • Did you ever purchase a car because you saw someone on TV drive it?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Most People Send And Receive Proposals. The Question Is, What Is Your Responsibility Once You Get One?

Monday, November 9th, 2009

So you need your pool fixed, want to build an addition to your house, or you need a new engine for your 1967 Corvette. Or perhaps you want to put in central air or need your driveway paved. Or what about a need to conduct some market research?

What do all these things have in common?

Yes there is a buyer and a seller. But that’s not what I am referring to. All of those things involve a proposal. Someone needs to understand the requirements of the buyer and prepare a proposal. As we all know, preparing a proposal can take a while and in some ways costs money. Yes it is at times mostly labor but it does cost money.

Let me know if this sounds familiar:

You have a great discussion with a client or prospect, you take down all of the specifications and you know in your heart that you could do a great job. You prepare the proposal and include what you think is a fair price. What happens next? You wait, sometimes for weeks, months or longer and you never hear anything. Not one word.

  • How do you feel?
     
  • Do you wonder what happened?
     
  • Was the project awarded?
     
  • Do you wonder why your company didn’t win the business?

I am sure all of us have experienced those feelings and questions.

The question is, what is the responsibility of the person receiving the proposal?

  • Shouldn’t they get back to you in a timely fashion with some feedback?
     
  • Do you get back to your vendors when they send you a proposal?
     
  • How frustrating is this process in today’s economy?
     
  • Any ideas on how to make the process better?

I look forward to reading your comments.

No Surprise – Another Delay At The Airport . . . What Do You Do To Pass The Time?

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Okay, perhaps the story is a little comical (or at least to me). I was reading USA Today the other day and the article was entitled, "Air delays are worst at some big business-travel destinations". Okay, so here was the funny thing about that: I not only was at the airport – you guessed it. My flight was delayed.  No surprise – it happens to all of us. If you travel often, you have had tremendous delays and probably have some very funny and interesting stories. As I was looking at the best and worst on time arrivals I really began to chuckle. The reason was, I only flew into the top 10 on time areas once last year. Only one time! As opposed to flying into the bottom ten probably every three weeks. Today the real question is, what do you do when you have delays:

  • Do you read a book?
     
  • Run around the airport?
     
  • Listen to music?
     
  • Watch a movie?
     
  • Ride the tram?
     
  • Call your parents?
     
  • Catch up with friends?
     
  • Make new friends?

For me I try to catch up on my reading. I usually have lots of articles in my briefcase and find the delays a good way to catch up. I also try and keep in touch with industry contacts and have a list of people to call.

  • What do you do?
     
  • Do you have a routine for delays?

I look forward to reading your comments.