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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Technorati Test 

Technorati does not appear to be responding to pings for my new blog, mrontemp.blogspot.com.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater


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Friday, February 09, 2007


The Ontario Empoblog is shutting down, at least temporarily.

In fact I'm ceasing activity on all of my existing Blogger blogs, and redirecting people to mrontemp, my new Blogger blog.

One of the reasons for this is a change in style. My blog posts (in this blog especially) have become long posts that morph from one subject to another in a non-toadlike wild ride of whatevers. As you can see from my first few posts in mrontemp, I'm trying a more succinct style.

We'll see how it goes. Catch you at mrontemp.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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Stakeholder Request 

mrontemp stands for Mister Ontario Emperor, natch.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Watch Out Miss Club Paris USA, There's a New, More Timely Beauty Queen Contest 

It was over a month ago that I wrote about the Miss Club Paris USA contest, which was coming soon. Real Soon Now, I guess.

You'll recall that Paris Hilton reached an agreement with Fred Khalilian to promote Club Paris in Orlando and Jacksonville, but wasn't all that committed to the promoting duties. So Khalilian dumped Hilton, and announced a contest to name someone as Miss Club Paris USA. Supposedly a network deal was in the works, and all sorts of wonderful things were going to happen.

As far as I can tell, nothing has happened yet. I guess Fox isn't ready to pull 24 off its schedule to insert "The Replacement."

Meanwhile, another beauty contest has kicked off:

Meet Miss Atomic Bomb 1957!

Why should nuclear bombs have spokespersons and not Hoax Devices?

We'd like to keep the tradition alive and present to the world MISS HOAX DEVICE 2007. Please submit casting applications to us at:



Include a photo which we can use, and which shows why you should be MISS HOAX DEVICE 2007, and a short text describing your qualifications. Please limit photos to 700 pixels wide. If we need a bigger one we'll ask.

Pageant dates to be announced.

Good luck.

Inasmuch as this is a sexist competition, Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens are not eligible to participate.

(Does this post make me the first person to mention Paris Hilton and Peter Berdovsky at the same time? The mind reels.)

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sean Carton's Five Rules of Viral Marketing 

With a brief nod to Cartoon Network and Peter Berdovsky, Sean Carton of idfive has published his list of five rules of viral marketing (or guerilla marketing). Here is the expurgated version:

If you want to generate word-of-mouth, don't try to be hip.

Destruction of property or intruding into people's comfort zones will only backfire.

You can't fake authenticity.

Know your audience.

Love your customers.

Carton cites a number of examples in his article, but it may be fun to apply the general concepts to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force promotion. Once you do, you run into the "this promotion has multiple audiences" problem. By their positioning, the electronic devices could be seen by Adult Swim fans...and they could be seen by Thomas Menino.

This is not good.

Not necessarily that you can only advertise in places where Adult Swim fans will congregate, but just bear in mind that the vast majority of people on your average street corner won't know Adult Swim from YCMA Swim. If no one had thought that these items were bombs, then the promotion would have...um...bombed, and the six hundred dollars in labor costs would have been wasted.

To cite a semi-related example, it's lucky that the whole Pedro for President thing wasn't conducted as a viral marketing campaign. When you sell the shirts, then the shirt owners have some sense of pride or whatever in promoting Pedro (similar to what you can find for people who wear designer clothing). But let's say that people decided to give the shirts away to 500 hip and trendy people in Manhattan and Ibiza; what would have happened? (And by the way, if you don't know what "Pedro for President" stands for, don't worry - I didn't know either, and once I found out, I didn't really care. Napoleon, Schmapoleon.)

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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If at first you don't succeed... 

Radio station KLAC played a commercial for Dinovite. This product claims to do wonderful things for dogs:

I'm Ed Lukacevic, developer, manufacturer and distributer of Dinovite® Dog Supplement. Let me explain a little about why I developed this all natural dog supplement and what it can do to help make your dog the healthy, happy canine he was meant to be!...

Over the years, while raising and training my own dogs on our farm in Kentucky, I struggled to keep them in top-notch condition. Like you, I've seen dogs plagued with bad skin, allergies and other canine maladies. I tried almost everything on the market and spent tons of money on the vet with no real results. It became clear to me that many dog health problems have their root in some sort of nutrient deficiency. Unfortunately, even with the best dog food, dog nutritional requirements are usually not being met....

Considering my history with dogs and other animals, finding a solution to these dog health problems was a natural step for me. Through personal study and methodical, real world, hands on testing I systematically formulated natural dog supplement "recipes" that eventually resulted in Dinovite® Dog Food Supplement....

Our natural dog supplement proved to correct the problems that plague so many dogs. After many friends, family and canine professionals used Dinovite® and got remarkable results for their ailing dogs, we decided to make our dog supplement available online.

This is then followed by a number of testimonials, similar to the ones I heard on the radio commercial. These claims, consisting of anecdotal evidence, awoke the skeptic in me. Unfortunately, anyone who advertises on the radio and cites customer testimonials (instead of scientific studies) gets lumped in with other companies that use the same tactic, such as penis enlargement peddlers.

So I was curious to see if anyone had claimed that Dynovite is a worthless scam. I searched the 'Net, but I only found two claims that Dinovite is a ripoff.

The first, dated December 8, 2006, was filed by Suzanne in Plano, Texas:

My husband purchased a 5 lb. container of Dinovite for $59.00 after hearing a radio ad. We received the container and began feeding our two Sable Cockers the Dinovite food supplement. Within 48 hours we had to stop feeding the Dinovite because our pets are highly allergic to three ingredients contained in the Dinovite. I contacted Dinovite to return the food and get a refund. They insist you MUST FEED the Dinovite for 90 days BEFORE THEY WILL HONOR THE MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. If I continue to feed my dogs this crap,they may be dead in 90 days. Now I can't get any response from the owner. No phone call, no e-mail, no nothing. PET OWNERS BEWARE. IF YOU BUY DINOVITE AND YOU DON'T LIKE IT, YOU ARE OUT OF LUCK ON GETTING A REFUND OF ANY KIND. I CALL THAT A RIP-OFF.

Plano, Texas

On December 17, Ed Lukacevic from Dinovite responded as follows (in part):


I'm sorry Dinovite did not work for your dog. I've not received any emails from you, it is possible you responded to an auto email, I don't check these.

I'm not sure why you have chosen to blast our company and product instead of just sending your order back and receiving your refund. There is no catch 22 just send it back and we will refund the purchase price less shipping.

I've posted our Guarantee and return policy below for your review and others reading this comment.

The guarantee and return policy, which is posted in two locations [1] [2] on Dinovite's website, reads (in part) as follows:

We are so confident that your dog will benefit from Dinovite® that we invite you to use it for a full 90 days at no risk.

The bottom line is we want every dog to get a fair shake and we want all of our customers to be completely satisfied. That is why we encourage you to feed Dinovite® for 90 days.

Use the recommended dosage and size container for your dog. Feed the Dinovite every day for 90 days to give your dog the time he needs to reap the benefits. If you are still not satisfied with Dinovite® we will gladly refund your money (minus shipping).

Please don't rush to return the product before you have given your dog a chance to benefit! Feed it for 90 days.

Back to the thread of the original complaint. P of Colorado Springs, Colorado replied:

You missed the point of the original poster - the dogs are allergic to the ingredients and feeding it for 90 days would probably kill them. The complaint was that your company REQUIRED the use of the product for 90 days before you would consider a refund - your own post supports the complaint....

This prompted the following response from Ed on December 18:

Our company has never refused a refund whether the product was used for 1 day or 90 days. Our bottom line concern is customer satisfaction and their dog's well being.

As I stated earlier just send it back and we will issue a refund of the purchase price less shipping.

So it's still unclear what Dinovite's official return policy is. Their website proclaims over and over that you have to feed the product for 90 days, but in at least one instance they offered to issue a refund after the product was used for a much shorter period of time.

Anyway, this was the first complaint about Dinovite. Now let's look at the second:

This company CLAIMS it will help you pet if they have allergies. WRONG!!!!! IF YOUR pet ALREADY has allergies, IT CAN MAKE MATTERS MUCH WORSE. Both of our pets suffer from allergies and after feeding them Dinovite for three days, they were off to the vet again!!!!!! We can't get a refund because you have to feed this crap to your pets for 90 days. Good ole catch 22!!!! At the end of 90 days you will either have a sicker pet than when you began or you will have higher vet bills, or BOTH.

Dinovite will not respond to numerous e-mails, mail, etc. Bottom line is you buy it and there is no recourse for getting your money back.So buyer beware!!!! $59.49 down the drain for pet food and a vet bill to boot!!!

Plano, Texas

Yup, the same woman (Suzanne) who filed the complaint on December 8 went ahead and filed a nearly identical complaint at the same website a week later. Don't know if Dinovite was prompted to respond because of the second complaint, or whether Dinovite just responded to the first complaint and didn't even know about the second one.

The fact that Suzanne didn't log a third complaint may be attribute to one of the following reasons:
  • Suzanne read Dinovite's December 18 comment, returned the product, got a refund, and was (relatively) happy.

  • Suzanne was busy complaining to another vendor.

  • Suzanne forgot to pay her Internet access bill.

Other than Suzanne, the closest thing that I found to a negative testimonial about Dynovite was the following:

So far so good
Posted by: Jenny from Utah on 6/19/2006...

My German shepherd had horrible gas. We tried everything, from gas pills, changing diets, and prescription food to daily zinc and acidophillys pills. Nothing worked. after a week or so of taking dinovite, her gas is completly gone (or at least the smell is gone). We are still waiting to see results for her skin and coat, and her joints. She has been on it for 2 months now.

And even that review can't technically be considered negative, since Jenny still has a month to go. And her house smells nicer.

(If you are interested, for scholarly reasons, in selected topics listed above, check my del.icio.us tags for dog and penis....Up go the corporate firewalls.)

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why I was thinking about Carter and Reagan 

Ran across this quote while reading a review of the Douglas Brinkley book on Gerald Ford:

Ford — nearly 90 when Brinkley interviewed him — was still smarting over Reagan having challenged him for the Republican nomination in 1976, saying it was "a low-down stunt" that "really burned the hell out of me." Had Reagan earnestly campaigned for the incumbent instead of giving him a lukewarm endorsement after losing the GOP nomination, Ford said he could have beaten Carter....

Carter and Ford developed a warm working relationship that Brinkley describes in some detail. (Carter also has harbored bitter feelings toward Reagan, whose administration broke with the custom of giving national security briefings to former presidents. Several years after losing his 1980 bid for a second term, Carter told me, "I don't know who hates him more, me or Jerry Ford.")

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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In which I prove that I sometimes emerge from the Adult Swim Aqua 

Haven't had a chance to write about these, but here are some other del.icio.us tags that I've recently created:

And it all started here:

Would New Orleans and the nearby Gulf Coast [had suffered] so terribly...if President Carter beat back Reagan in 1980?

I am wondering if those voters in Louisiana and Mississippi who helped polluter-allied Reagan win in 1980 would have found themselves fated differently under a second Carter term. If Carter came in, we could have had an alternative fuels program and tighter auto emission standards in effect by now.

Sparked by his prodding, we might have had decades of global warming controls in place.

Whose to say if those steps might not have rendered the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf even 1/100th of a degree cooler than they are now?...

Since hurricanes need warm water to feed, what if that temperature difference- however slight- might have caused Katrina to be slightly weaker? What if that, in turn, would have caused Lake Pontchartrain, which ultimately connects to the Gulf-to be a little "kinder and gentler?"

In this cause-and-effect natural world of ours, this might have meant the big brackish lake that forms New Orleans' northern boundary might have crested just short of the levees rather than breaching them.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. On the other hand, perhaps a Carter win would have meant different strategies for the Department of Agriculture, resulting in additional promotions and visibility for Bennett C. Landreneau. And maybe, just maybe, after the September 11 attack (perhaps during the presidency of Joe Biden), and the resulting calls to create a unified Department of Homeland Security...well, maybe, just maybe, Landreneau may have been named to that important post.

Then things would have REALLY been fun.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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In which we enter the alternative universe in which police always believe dreadlocked individuals 

I previously raised the question about whether Interference Inc. was prompt in letting the authorities know that the so-called bombs in Boston weren't bombs.

Now a new question has been raised - was Peter Berdovsky prompt in letting Interference Inc. know that the guerilla marketing campaign had gone sour? And should he have informed the on-scene officers that there was nothing to worry about?

The issue was raised because Berdovsky videotaped police at a (supposed) bomb site. This is what the Associated Press said:

One of the men criminally charged after placing blinking cartoon advertisements around the city videotaped a police bomb squad removing one of the electronic devices, but did not tell the officers the object was harmless.

Surveillance cameras caught 27-year-old Peter Berdovsky videotaping officers removing what they thought was a possible bomb.

But Walter Prince, Berdovsky's new layer (replacing semi-guardian Michael Rich), puts a different spin on the whole thing:

Prince said Berdovsky had received a call that morning from a friend who told him there was a bomb threat at the Sullivan Square transit station in Boston. He said Berdovsky grabbed his camera and headed out to the scene, unaware it involved one of the electronic devices that he and Sean Stevens, 28, had hung....

"That's what he does. He videotapes things. He's a videotape freelance artist. He got a call that there was a bomb threat near his house and he went to tape it," Prince said. "When he got there, he realized what was going on, and he went back to his apartment and called his employer, and they told him they would take care of it. That's not an inappropriate response."

Even asuming that Berdovsky immediately called Interference Inc., some people still aren't happy with what Berdovsky did or didn't do:

Every time the general public begins to soften a bit regarding their plight, new revelations of astoundingly selfish behavior emerge. Now, we're told Berdovsky and Stevens actually videotaped authorities detonating their cartoon devices from the scene...

So, in the view of these people, Berdovsky should have dropped his video camera and immediately informed the police about the whole situation. I'm trying to imagine what that would look like...

(dream sequence music)

OFFICER JONES: Be careful as you approach that thing. No idea what it is.

OFFICER SMITH: Yeah, who knows what those wires lead to?

OFFICER JONES: And I don't like the fact that it's giving me the finger.


OFFICER JONES: Who's that guy in dreadlocks that's yelling at us?

OFFICER SMITH: Stand back, sir! This is a potentially dangerous situation.

PASSERBY: No it isn't.

OFFICER JONES: A potential bomb in the middle of the city is definitely a dangerous situation.

PASSERBY: It's not a bomb!

OFFICER SMITH: We don't know what it is yet, so we have to take precautions. Now stand back.

PASSERBY: It's not a bomb! It's a promotional display.

OFFICER JONES: Yes, a promotional display that just happens to be in a crowded city and just happens to be electronically wired. Move back, son.

PASSERBY: It's a promotional display for the TV show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. It's been up for three weeks now. It's not a bomb.

OFFICER SMITH: Aqua Teen Hunger Force? Are you on drugs, son?

PASSERBY: My friend and I set them up over the last few weeks. We got paid three hundred bucks each. They're all over the city.

OFFICER JONES: Did you say these devices are all over the city?

PASSERBY: Yeah. A few dozen of them.

OFFICER SMITH: We need backup! Get Homeland Security! Boston's about to blow!

(chaos ensues - end dream sequence music)

In other words, it's very doubtful that a cop would have believed a dreadlocked guy who claimed that the devices were not bombs.

Too bad.

P.S. Some other comments on the latest. From Media Log (this is the amended version):

Today's Herald story reporting that Peter Berdovsky...videotaped law enforcement's Mooninite freak-out is a great scoop, assuming it holds up. Nice work by Michele McPhee.

That said, I'm puzzled by the "high-ranking BPD official" who claimed that this videotaping provides the proof of "intent" that prosecutors need to make their case. Here's the quote in question:

"The minute they knew that police officers were racing across the city, firefighters were racing to the scene, and bomb techs were suiting up, and they did not call 911 [sic]. That--that forms intent. Their being there could provide the proof of intent prosecutors need."...

I'm no attorney, but on a common-sense level, this doesn't necessarily work.

And from Reality Checks:

Can you believe that this won't even be settled until MARCH 7?!!! Turner can buy [itself] out right away but these guys continue to be Stupid Boston officials' scapegoats And I repeat, STUPID! Just watch these press conferences these idiots have and try to figure out with me how these guys got voted into office. And just think, Turner stated in [its] buyout deal that [it] should be given all the blame. And these guys continue to be held hostage!

I'm sure there will be more conversation all over the map on this one.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, but the hyenas shout "No king" 



Take a gander at this sentence, which appeared in an Ambos Medios ad for Hippie Chick Twang:

This is a guerilla marketing organization that works outside the box to creatively get the message out about books, art, and music to the industry and the consumer market where their work will be loved!

If the ad had only mentioned empowerment of the individual, it would have been a perfect example of New Thinking and the End of Corporate Domination. It would inspire you to use this guerilla marketing organization, in which response is fast, hierarchies are non-existent, and -

Wait a minute. While guerilla marketing organizations have the veneer of New Whatevers, the January 31 (never forget) episode in Boston reveals that there are definite hierarchies in the guerilla marketing world.

Let's start at the top of well-known guerilla marketer Interference Inc. with Sam Ewen. He goes around giving seminars:

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Going Guerilla - A Workshop On Making The Most Of Your Street And Guerilla Promotions

With street promotion, PR stunts, Public Events, Landscape Marketing and Nightlife promotion gaining a bigger share of marketing dollars, it is more important than ever to do it right and deliver the impact that you want with your campaign. This workshop will focus on the nuts and bolts of event creation as well as measurement and maximizing your impact.

A selection of topics to be covered:

What works on/in the field and what to avoid.
Are some markets better than others?
How much should guerilla marketing cost?
How to create guerrilla marketing that stands out from the rest.
How to get Press for your marketing campaigns.
To get permits or not to get permits, that is the question.
How best to define your target and the benefit of live profiling.
How much of your budget should you allocate to guerilla marketing?
Extending the life of your street promotions beyond the event days.

The buzz on buzz continues to build. Find out why and how you can master the discipline in this unique half day workshop.

Workshop Leader: Sam Travis Ewen
CEO and Founder, Interference Inc.

But Ewen's too busy giving the seminars to go out and guerilla market any more, so he has people. One of his people is Adrienne Yee. Adrienne was the contact person for this Interference Inc. job recruitment ad - an ad which shows the levels within Interference Inc.

2006-10-05 20:35:39 - Project Coordinator, NYC

New York, NY

Company: Interference Inc.
Position: Project Coordinator
Position Type: Full-Time
Experience: Proven initiative, detail-oriented, and ability to work in fast past environment
Degree: Bachelors Degree
Salary: $35,000
Location: New York, NY


Interference Inc. is a world-renowned experiential marketing agency specializing in integrated, guerrilla and buzz marketing. This boutique agency’s impressive client roster and highly-touted event marketing programs are leading to rapid growth that makes this a particularly exciting opportunity. Please visit www.interferenceinc.com for further details on the company.


The project coordinator reports directly to the Head of Project Management. Overall role includes supporting the production and client services groups in executing marketing promotions on a local and national scale.


· Support company in planning, budgeting, and executing small and large scale events and street promotions.
· Assist in monitoring events in the field. This position will require some travel.
· Research, resource, and coordinate program development and execution
· Assist in developing, producing, editing, and distributing internal and client correspondence including: emails, status reports, presentations, event recaps, and other communications.
· Assist in the planning of and attend all necessary production, client, and account-related meetings. Meeting examples include: conference calls, brainstorming sessions, recap meetings, program events and other interactions.
· Assist in maintaining budgets (expense reconciliations, budget tracking, etc)
· Inventory management (uniforms, premiums, equipment, etc)
· Staff programs based on staff profile requirements


· Extremely organized individual who is a self-starter and able to learn quickly in a fast-paced environment
· Proficient in all MS applications including MS Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Word
· Strong writing and communication skills

Contact person: Adrienne Yee

So now you see that Sam Ewen has project managers, project coordinators, production groups, client services groups, and presumably someone to run to the indie coffeeshop before it closes at midnight.

So are these the guerilla marketers? Nope. Interference Inc. uses one or more levels of contractors:

In a State Police report, investigators say that [Peter] Berdovsky told them he met a man in Brooklyn last November who asked him to participate in a “promotional stunt” and steered him to Interference.

So there's the possibility that the initial person who contacted Berdovsky wasn't even an Interference Inc. employee, but someone who referred Berdovsky to Interference.

So did Interference hire Berdovsky? Nope.

The company promised to pay Berdovsky and [Sean] Stevens $300 each to install 40 of the signs around Boston.

So, let's follow the trail here. Someone in Adult Swim decides to promote Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and the Adult Swim person contacts someone in Cartoon Network, then either someone in Cartoon Network or parent Turner Broadcasting contacts Interference Inc., perhaps talking with Sam Ewen, perhaps not. Interference Inc. puts the word out on the party circuit, and rounds up $600 in cash for the Boston, Massachusetts portion of the promotion.

So much for no hierarchy. Perhaps the Adult Swim person could have flown to Boston and installed the devices, eliminating the middleman. But he wouldn't have had the benefit of an e-mail instruction manualette:

A marketing company official, whom Berdovsky identified as Adrienne Yee, sent him an e-mail listing the “do’s and don’ts” of where to place the signs. Target areas included train stations, overpasses, “hip and trendy areas, high traffic areas of high visibility.”

Things go well for several weeks, until Peter was watching TV one day:

[L]ate Wednesday morning...the friends saw television footage of police blowing up one of the signs and realized what was happening. The friends e-mailed links to the footage to one another. About 1:25 p.m. Berdovsky e-mailed several friends and said the advertising firm had told him to keep quiet, friends said.

Here the accounts diverge. Here's one version:

Interference did not contact the police. Turner Broadcasting claims that it didn’t hear from Interference about the uproar until 5pm that afternoon. Meanwhile, the city of Boston was paralyzed, federal officials were rushing to the scene, and US Northern Command was monitoring the situation at its Colorado Springs headquarters.

According to the [Boston] Globe, Interference didn’t even have the decency to post bond for Stevens and Berdovsky.

Here's another version, this one from Sam Ewen:

We first received word of the situation when our contracted employee, Peter Berdovsky, called our office to explain that the marketing campaign had become a story in the local news. We immediately informed Turner Broadcasting System of this.

By the way, isn't "contracted employee" an oxymoron? Or was Ewen loath to admit that Interference Inc. doesn't actually do any guerilla marketing themselves? But Ewen then indirectly slaps his "contracted employee":

At no time, and in no way, did we ever seek to hide our involvement in this situation or ask or direct others to do so. Additionally, in no way did we delay our response to the situation. Any statement to that end is completely false. On the contrary, we contacted the authorities immediately in order to rectify this unfortunate situation. We are continuing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Predictably, the blogosphere is going after Ewen:

Meanwhile, Mr. Ewen (who shut down Interference's website for two days after the incident) added a video on Thursday to the "Favorites" section of his YouTube page that makes fun of Boston city officials for overreacting. (Jackpot321 is Mr. Ewen's standard username. A google cache of a deleted page where he unfortunately refers to "bomb[ing] LA" with the campaign is here.) One assumes he did not add this video on the advice of counsel (or of the public relations firm he has hired to deflect further inquiries)....

So a guerilla marketer not only employs guerilla marketers, but also a public relations firm.

Although the content of Ewen's official statement and that of his most recent YouTube "Favorites" selection appear diametrically opposed, media experts say that self-contradictory psyches are an earmark of advertising and marketing professionals, many of whom are frustrated artists torn between their dual desires to rebel and "sell out." Does Mr. Ewen, whose marketing firm co-opted the methods of tech-savvy street artists for the ATHF campaign and then remained silent while two of the artists the company had employed as contract labor were arrested on felony charges, have issues?

But I guess we'll need a noted semanticist such as Bill Clinton to sort this out:

Those who have been following this story closely understand that what constituted "immediately" at the offices of Interference on January 31st is an open question....

But, more importantly, the dirty little secret is out. You don't need to hire guerilla marketing experts to promote your company, since the guerilla marketing experts don't do guerilla marketing anyway, and it doesn't appear that they are any more expert than you.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to contact a blog promotion consultant.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Laugh of the day 

Guess who said the following?

I have always believed the purpose of government is to help improve people's lives, and I'm thrilled about leading Boston forward in the years to come. I'm equally dedicated to utilizing the latest technology to create helpful resources that benefit Bostonians.

Turns out it was Thomas Menino, Mayor of the City of Boston, Massachusetts. Let's see what else Menino said:

1/31/2007 - Released by Mayor's Office

Statement on Today’s Suspicious Packages

First, I want to congratulate the Boston Police Department and all the public safety agencies for responding in a coordinated effort today. As most of you know, there were reports of nine suspicious packages found throughout the city and area earlier today. At this time there is no reason to be alarmed.

In fact, a few hours later, it would have been good if Menino had noted that this was a non-issue. He didn't.

These devices have all been secured and are under investigation to see if they are connected and where they came from. I want to be certain that we take all of these reports very seriously.

Even when there's egg on his face afterwards.

The coordinated response by all departments proves the system we have in place works.

He probably regretted that statement later, when he discovered that the devices had been installed weeks ago. But at least the Boston security forces neutralized the dangerous devices before the people in other cities did.

Today, my Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Boston Police Department shared intelligence with the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, Boston Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, Massachusetts State Police, ATF and FBI and we will continue to do so whenever necessary.

Yes, they shared intelligence. What does this mean?

1 a (1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : REASON; also : the skilled use of reason (2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests) b Christian Science : the basic eternal quality of divine Mind c : mental acuteness : SHREWDNESS

2 a : an intelligent entity; especially : ANGEL b : intelligent minds or mind

3 : the act of understanding : COMPREHENSION

4 a : INFORMATION, NEWS b : information concerning an enemy or possible enemy or an area; also : an agency engaged in obtaining such information

5 : the ability to perform computer functions

Turns out Menino was talking about definition 4. Not sure when he'll get around to definition 1.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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Compared to Belarus, Boston is nothing 

So the officials in Boston hate Peter Berdovsky (a/k/a Zebbler) and want to throw him in the slammer.

One would think that this is the worst thing that ever happened to Berdovsky in his life.

It isn't:

A native of Belarus, [Berdovsky] was finishing up the academic year as an exchange student at Arlington High School when he approached a fellow classmate about a growing concern.

“I had been reading articles on the brutality and increasing dictatorial behavior in Belarus,” he said. “Tears came to my eyes, and I had a choice … to live my life or stay subdued. I had already been detained for political activity, and I felt a lot freer here.”

Before his visit to Arlington, his democratic beliefs landed him against a wall, staring at the wrong end of a soldier’s gun.

“A swat team came out of nowhere as my friends and I were leaving a local coffee shop,” he said. “They jumped out of their Jeeps, lined us up against the wall while reloading their automatic weapons pointed to our heads, searched us all and took a few of us in for interrogation.

“They went through my journals and told me that my poems were too ‘free thinking,’ and that I should stop all of my political activities. I got threatened by them later as well, as a way to keep me in check I guess.”

For fear of persecution upon his return, Berdovsky shared his hopes for political asylum with confidant Josh Rich, who later explained his situation to his father Michael....

Yes, that Michael Rich. So in case people thought that Berdovsky used the phone book to choose a lawyer for his current troubles - he didn't.

In late June 1996, the Rich family took in Berdovsky, supporting him financially with help from the Social Action Committee of First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington.

“My wife had the idea to bring Peter’s financial needs to the attention of the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. We arranged a presentation for the Social Action Committee in regards to our sponsorship request, and the committee rallied behind Peter’s case. Peter later became a member of the youth group and spoke at a credo service about his faith journey, which helped prompt greater interest in Belarus and Social Action,” said Rich.

Rich also sought to get Peter readmitted to AHS as an undocumented alien following the expiration of his visa.

“That fall, I had a meeting with the superintendent, playing a dual role as father, and given my law background, the role of education lawyer, and the superintendent agreed to readmit Peter,” he said.

As both the Rich family and Arlington united behind Peter, Berdovsky was still in need of an immigration lawyer. Rich arranged to get an attorney through the Political Asylum Project, a Boston-based nonprofit organization whose specialty is immigration law.

Following initial interviews with the INS (now Immigration and Customs Enforcement), which found against Berdovsky, the case was appealed to immigration court....

The process took just more than a year between the time his application was filed, and when Berdovsky learned his fate.

“Getting the asylum was surreal,” Berdovsky said. “I walked out of the courtroom feeling a changed man. I was looking around me on a sunny day in the heart of downtown Boston with a feeling like I finally belonged.”


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