Monday, December 24, 2007

Tis’ The Newsletter Season...Bah Humbug!

By Guest Blogger, Josh Powers:

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing east coast mark for longer than I care to remember, so when he asked me to be a guest blogger for a special Christmas edition of east coast mark, I said “sure, why not!” I figured the topic was a slam-dunk: The Holiday Season.

I was all set to sit down and spin a feel-good tale full of holiday spirit and joy for all, but one evening after returning from my mailbox I had a change of heart. After sifting though the usual dozen credit-card applications and coupon books, I stumbled upon my first Christmas Card of the season. But this wasn’t just a Christmas card; it also included one of those family newsletter updates with the usual photo. After reading this particular one, I was reminded of why I dislike these updates so much.

You’ve probably all read these newsletter updates over the years. I don’t know how or when or why they got started. I imagine it used to be a tool to keep relatives in touch with what everyone was up to if they weren’t able to get together for the holiday season. Seems innocent enough. But times have changed. This isn’t the 1950's anymore. People can keep in touch across the world with the push of a button on a cell phone, a few clicks of a text message, or with the Internet - on blogs such as east coast mark. The main problem with the newsletter update is that it's not an update at all! It's turned into a contest to see which family has had the most accomplishments during the year. Is this what the Christmas spirit is supposed to be about?

Once you become parents it seems you fall into the newsletter trap. My parents religiously put together an update each Christmas season when I was growing up. Each year my accomplishments seemed to grow and the truth got stretched more and more in an effort to maintain that our family had the best kids in the neighborhood world. If my parents’ newsletter would have ever leaked to the national press, I’d probably have three or four Nobel Prizes by now.

Here’s a list of my childhood accomplishments:
· Top student in the school; ahem, make that the nation
· Star football, basketball, and baseball player
· Cured Cancer
· Started World Peace
· Stopped companies all over the world from making those plastic things that get stuck around the necks of ducks and geese.

Here were my real accomplishments:
· Passed all of my classes
· Squeaked on to the JV Tennis & Golf teams
· Honorable mention in a class chemistry project
· Freed the world & saved the Princess from the evil Bowser
· Bought cases of pop instead of 6-pack cans

When did the Christmas season become about bragging about your family? The holidays are about giving; making others feel good. If you’re constantly reading about how perfect everyone else’s lives are, is this supposed to make you feel good? New Year’s Day is right around the corner. How about this for a New Year’s resolution for 2008: Skip the annual Christmas update newsletter. You’ll save time, paper, money, and computer ink. No more sleepless nights wondering how you can turn your normal lives into something your friends will be jealous over. If they’re truly your friends, they probably know about all the big things in your life anyway. What about your buddy Joe who lost his job this year? Does he really want to read again how well your job is going? Happy Holidays from all of us, Joe! What about your friend Jane who just broke up with her fiancee? Hi Jane, we just wanted to remind you again that our relationship is going great. Merry Christmas!

Hopefully this is one New Year’s resolution that east coast mark and the rest of you will support.

Bah Humbug.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

But I Wanna be a Dentist!

I really just wanted to make another post to get that picture of Hillary off the front page. And since I'm on vacation for the next 10 days or so, I'm catching up on all the movies I've neglected over the last 6 months.

Since it's the Holiday Season - I'm starting with a few seasonal favorites. I'm a bit burnt out on 'A Christmas Story' - you know, Ralphie....shooting his eye out. I mean, TBS plays it for 18 days straight. It's enough already.

It may not keep with my hyper-masculine persona, but my favorite Holiday movie of late is 'Love Actually'. Clever, funny, and just romantic enough to melt even the most Scrooge-esque of hearts. And how can you not feel like you can conquer the world when that little red-haired kid says, "Let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love." Delicious Keira Knightley also makes a cameo.

Next on my list to watch is 'Elf'. I like to put on green tights while watching, just to set the mood. After I watch that movie, I'm always tempted to answer my phone with the greeting, "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?"

And of course my all-time favorite is the claymation, 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'. I was probably 13 years old before I could sleep through the night without the fear of that Abominable Snowman coming into my dreams and eating my soul. And furthermore - have we all concluded that Hermey the Elf was gay? I mean - an Elf who doesn't want to make toys, talks like a total pansy, and wants to leave a gumdrop forest to work in the challenging field of dentistry?

Seriously now. All Hermey had to do was hang out with the other elves, make a few toys, attend elf practice for an hour after work, and then knock off early to go have a beer with Santa. But no. This elf strikes out on his own, hooks up with that crackhead Yukon Cornelius, and finds himself on the freak-zone 'Island of Misfit Toys' (how about that lot of nut jobs!) Talk about your bad career moves.

This is how I picture a modern day version of this conversation would transpire:

Have a holly-jolly Christmas, Kids. And remember, if you've been naughty this year - not only will you get coal in your stocking, but the Abominable Snowman is going to eat your liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Does our Looks-Obsessed Culture Want to Stare at an Aging Woman?

Rush Limbaugh broached an interesting topic on his radio program earlier this week, talking about the importance of looks for any modern Presidential candidate. I've heard it said that if there was a TV in every home 50 years ago, FDR would never have been elected President...he and his wheelchair and broken body.

Think back to some of the tubby Presidents we've had. Is there any chance we'd elect a 300 lb President now? And to Limbaugh's point, is American culture prepared to watch a 60 year old woman age before our eyes?

Limbaugh also makes the case that when male Presidential candidates age, they look "more authoritative, accomplished and distinguished". Remember in the last election how obsessed the media was with monitoring John Kerry's fake tan and reported botox injections?

Let's take a brief look of then vs. now....

Grover Cleveland

William Taft

John Edwards

Mitt Romney

Now go fix yourself up and use a little hair gel. Slob.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

east coast mark Endorses Mitt Romney for President

(AP) New Brunswick, New Jersey

In a press release this morning, east coast mark has formally endorsed former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, for President of the United States.

A few qualifications:

  • Romney attended Stanford University, but left to do missionary work in France for 2 years

  • Returned to the U.S., and graduated valedictorian of his class at Brigham Young University

  • Next attended Harvard Law School, and graduated in the top 5% of his class

  • Romney does not drink alcohol or smoke, and rarely swears

  • Romney married his high school sweetheart, and has 5 sons and 11 grandchildren.

  • Started Bain Capital, a Private Equity Firm, and built an estimated fortune of $250 Million

  • Left that job to resurrect the troubled 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Romney contributed $1 million to the Olympics, and donated the $825,000 salary he earned as President and CEO to charity.

  • Was elected Governor of Massachusetts, an overwhelmingly Democratic state

Below is a video to give a brief introduction to the man for those of you who might not be acquainted. What strikes me every time is his incredible poise, presence, and intelligence. My feeling is that if he is elected President, he has the potential to become the greatest President since Kennedy.

There are those who mock Bush for his lack of intelligence. There are those who can't fathom having a hot head like Hillary run a country. There are those who think Obama is too inexperienced to lead a nation. There are those who think Giulliani is a bit of a wild man.

For all those people, I present Mitt Romney as a candidate that is at least worth a look. Everything about him screams 'Presidential' - and thus east coast mark endorses both Mitt and his political views to lead our country for the next 4 years.

Over the next 11 months we'll periodically be presenting political commentary to help compare and contrast the various candidates - and help you become more informed on whom you choose to support. Republican or Democrat, intelligent conversation and discussion is the best way to raise the bar for all of us.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An Open Letter to Bill Smith, Minnesota Twins GM

Please cease ripping stars away from my favorite team. Hunter was a jab in the side, but we dealt with it. But I really don't want to wake up on Tuesday morning and see news headlines on how the Twins traded Santana. Nothing ever good comes from trading the best player in a sport during their prime.

We dumped David Ortiz to the Sox. Now we're apparently going to dump Santana for Lester (a 2nd or 3rd starter at best), and Coco Crisp!? Please tell me this is all just posturing, and the Twins will come to their senses and keep Santana. The Boston people don't want to lose Ellsbury - but pitching is a premium in baseball.

I'd like to see owner Carl Pohlad, who is in the twilight of his life and probably the richest owner in American Sports, step up and cement his legacy for Minnesota Sports. Lock up Mauer, Morneau, Santana, and Liriano to long term deals. Take the field in your new PUBLICLY FUNDED stadium in 2009 with a premium team, and you'll be making that money back hand over fist.

If this trend continues, eventually Liriano is going to hit the free agent market, and the bidding and trade talks will start with 2 cold cheeseburgers and an ice cream sundae.

The one upside here is that I think Bill Smith doesn't want to start off his career as a GM looking like a goat. Thus, if he doesn't get an awesome deal - I think (hope) he'll have the smarts to step away from this 'deal'.