Archive | April, 2012

You’ve Gotta Keep ’Em Separated

30 Apr

In the new film The Five-Year Engagement, Jason Segel plays Tom, the kind of nice-guy boyfriend that most women would love to find.

Actually, he’s a bit too nice, and a bit too in love with his fiancée, Violet (Emily Blunt), and that makes him a bit of a pushover, which is why Tom ends up quitting his job as a chef in San Francisco, leaving his brother and family behind, delaying his wedding, and moving with Violet to Michigan, where she’s been accepted into a two-year post-doctorate program.

Awwww … how sweet of him.

But when Violet’s position gets extended, Tom’s life becomes even more of a shred of what it once was, and soon these two lovebirds are struggling to stay together.

They’re not the only ones. Continue reading

Some Nights Are Just More Fun

22 Apr

Oh, to be Nate Ruess.

The charismatic, boyish frontman of fun. (yes, the period is part of the name) took the stage at the House of Blues in Boston Saturday night not looking like he had an album to sell. Rather, it seemed like he wanted to celebrate, and bask in the band’s success so far this year.

The guy was positively beaming as he bounced all around the stage, having the best time of anyone in the room, and he commanded the mic like a conquering hero.

That’s how you’d act too if your crossover hit “We Are Young” was on track to be the best selling song of 2012, and you’d already had it featured in a Super Bowl commercial and an episode of Glee.

Sure, “We Are Young,” with its catchy, anthemic chorus, has many of the trademarks of a great one-hit wonder. But fun.’s show Saturday night proved that the band deserves to have a career beyond that one song. Continue reading

Everything I Know About Small Business Marketing I Learned from Watching Baseball

20 Apr

Today is the day the Red Sox are celebrating the 100th birthday of Fenway Park.

Yesterday, I took part in the team’s Open House and spent a chunk of the day wandering the country’s oldest (and yes, most beloved) ballpark.

In short, it was awesome. I got to go into the Sox dugout, touch the Green Monster (Wally too), sit in the famous Ted Williams seat, and basically, go anywhere in the park that I wanted to. It was a perfect way to spend a few hours.

Of course, truth be told, I haven’t always been a Red Sox fan (I grew up in New York, and am the child of Mets fans). But I’ve always been a baseball fan.

I love the drama, the history, the athleticism, the strategy, the pageantry, the pomp and circumstance … and how aspects of baseball translate into other areas of my life, like my career as a marketer.

I know that even when my team isn’t doing well — which, yes, lately is too often — there’s still plenty to learn from watching each game.

So humor me, if you will, as I share nine things you can learn about small business marketing from watching baseball. Continue reading

Can this Film Stop the Bullying Problem?

12 Apr

It happened when I was in fifth grade.

Our class had a substitute teacher one day, and we spent the last hour outside.

Many of us played kickball. But when the game started to get stale, the “cool kids” took the ball and started doing their own thing.

I wanted to play with them, so I tried to get in their game.

However, instead of welcoming me, they started calling me names and throwing the ball at me, hitting me with it multiple times in the head, chest, and back.

I tolerated it for a while, but then decided I’d had enough. Upset and near tears, I went inside without telling anyone. The substitute was so oblivious she didn’t even see me go.

I got to our classroom, picked up my bag and jacket, and before I headed out for the bus, I wrote a very simple note on the blackboard:

“I suck. Signed Marty”

Somehow, I held it together on the bus, and when I finally got home, I made a bee-line up to my bedroom, where I broke down and cried.

For most of my childhood, I’d been on the receiving end of bullying. From incessant name-calling to being pushed around and excluded from activities, I was pretty much your stereotypical suburban bullying victim.

And like most bullying victims, I’d gotten used to it, as if that was my lot in life and there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it. My parents didn’t know much about how I was being treated (I generally kept it to myself), and the teachers at school were doing very little to stop it. In fact, their coddling of me probably made it worse since I was seen as a teacher’s pet.

So that day in fifth grade was a real breaking point for me.

I told my parents what had happened, and they asked a lot of questions. Why? How? Didn’t anyone do anything? What were you doing? I didn’t really want to answer these questions, so they didn’t exactly make it easier for me, or make me want to tell my parents again.

I don’t recall any specific action being taken after that day, but I have to believe something did happen because I don’t have any memories of things being quite so bad ever again. In fact, by the end of middle school (around the time of my 13th birthday, to be specific), I’d found some confidence and strength, and things got much better for me.

But I never would forget those earlier days of being bullied, and how awful it felt. And even now, that one day in particular still stands out.

So you can probably imagine the visceral reaction I had while watching the new documentary Bully. Continue reading

The Song Remains the Same for “Once”

11 Apr

Like the movie it’s based on, Once the stage musical (which I saw last week) begins in unassuming fashion.

The stage has been “converted” to a pub, where audience members can go for a drink before the show (and during intermission). The ensemble is right there on stage performing Irish and Czech folk songs, in a seemingly impromptu jam session, and patrons are treated as if it’s just another night in the pub.

Gradually, all the audience members are led back to their seats, and without any fanfare, there’s someone “new” on stage, who the ensemble parts ways to let sing.

And does he ever.

With broken-hearted passion, this Guy belts out “Leave,” a slow-burn song about his girlfriend, who has left Dublin — and him.

Slowly the lights go down and the show has begun.

Continue reading

My Perfect Day of Eating

6 Apr

My friend Dan has a great podcast called The Sporkful, which he hosts with his buddy, Mark.

The tagline for the show is “It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters.” That just about describes me perfectly.

I don’t like fancy-schmancy food, but I sure do like what I like. And I take it rather seriously.

How much? Well, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, or if we’re connected on Facebook or Twitter, then you have a pretty good idea.

So I thought I’d devote a blog post to my perfect day of eating. And yes, perfect includes not having to worry about calories or ever getting full.

Where would I go, and what would I eat? Continue reading

13 Years Later, and Jim’s Still Not Getting Any

5 Apr

Are you nostalgic for the first American Pie movie?

Is anyone?

Anyone other than the original cast, that is.

If you are, then American Reunion is a movie for you.

It plays like a cinematic version of a K-Tel Records “Who Loves the ’90s?” album, complete with the same basic story of a bunch of horny guys in East Great Falls, Mich., who just want to get laid.

Of course, we’re talking Reunion here, so the action all takes place 13 years after that first film. And if a 13-year reunion seems random to you, well … you’re right.

But who cares? After all, if you’ve been to a reunion, then you know what to expect: Initial feelings of anticipation, stress, awkwardness, and/or regret, that eventually lead to good vibes for everyone. That describes the characters’ reunion and the movie itself.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: