Fighting the Mind's Eye

The Guardian has published selected journal entries from Mike May who regained sight after being blind for 43 years.

"I found it very distracting to look at people's faces when I was having a conversation. I can see their lips moving, eyelashes flickering, head nodding and hands gesturing. At first, I tried looking down, but if it was a woman in a low-cut top that would be even more distracting. It was easier to close my eyes or tune out the visual input. This was often necessary in order to concentrate on what they were saying. I am sure there will come a time when all this visual communication will mean more to me, but for now it is just distracting."


What will they put in engagement rings in 2005?

Diamond eyeglasses, watch faces, and semiconductors are coming soon. For the full story, read this article by Joshua Davis in WIRED magazine.

For some background on DeBeer's invention of the diamond's cachet, see this 1982 article from the Atlantic by Edward Epstein


Wesley Willis Died

From a 1996 MTV Interview..

TABITHA SOREN: What's in here?

WESLEY WILLIS: What's in my bag is my portable CD player. I use the CD player to go on bus rides of joy, but then I go on bus rides to hell.

SOREN: I see...

WILLIS: But the demon in my head talks to me with profanity. I do not want to hear. The demon thinks I'm a bum, a jerk, and an a-hole.

SOREN: So whatever you're playing knocks all that out of your head?

WILLIS: Whenever that CD player that I play puts music on.... it keeps me on the joy ride. It keeps out the hell-bus.

SOREN: When you were outside, how did you feel about all those strangers coming up to you and talking to you?

WILLIS: I loved them, and I loved them like super-chicken.

SOREN: Isn't that annoying, having people come up to you that you don't even know?

WILLIS: I just want to meet them. As long as they are nice I can meet them.

DALE MEINERS, The Wesley Willis Fiasco: Wesley's really cool. You know, I've dealt with guys who are addicted to heroin, and stuff like that. That is a real bad time, you know? Did you ever see the Chuck Berry video? These guys... There's some very strange rock stars out there. Wesley in comparison is very cool.


Google's PigeonRank™ Technology

Google exceeds all international standards for the ethical treatment of its pigeon personnel. Not only are they given free range of the coop and its window ledges, special break rooms have been set up for their convenience. These rooms are stocked with an assortment of delectable seeds and grains and feature the finest in European statuary for roosting.



New Ad Campaign Uses Animation to Focus on Benefits of Oven Roasting

(Fort Lauderdale, FL, February 25, 2003) Underscoring its core brand equity of oven roasting, a point of differentiation since the brand’s inception, Arby’s, Inc, d/b/a Triarc Restaurant Group, has launched a new national advertising campaign featuring an animated character, Oven Mitt. The focal point of the campaign, which debuts on March 2nd, is Arby’s consumer-driven brand message: Unlike other chains that fry or grill, Arby’s roast beef is - and always has been - oven roasted in their restaurants for three full hours.

"This campaign underscores our understanding that oven roasting is our point of differentiation for consumers who are looking for higher quality, fresher foods," said Michael Howe, Arby’s President and CEO. "Our continued focus on our core equity, and the Company’s ability to communicate it clearly, gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace."

Motivated by the desire to further connect with customers, Oven Mitt features the entertaining voice of Tom Arnold. Emotional about food that is “Oven Fresh… Oven Good,” Oven Mitt sings to Arby’s new Italian Beef n’ Provolone sandwich and gives motivational speeches to his fellow crewmembers. The spots take place in an Arby’s kitchen and utilize the power of animation to get through the clutter and spotlight the time and care that goes into making Arby’s sandwiches.

The fully integrated national campaign includes two :30 commercials on cable TV, in addition to radio, print, POP and promotions. Created by Doner Advertising in Detroit, the largest independent advertising agency in the United States, the campaign reinforces the positive emotional connection that consumers have with roasting.

Prior to creating the campaign, Doner used exploratory qualitative research to target consumer trends and perceptions. Their research showed that consumers respect and desire food that is prepared in an oven. Oven roasting also was synonymous with special occasions, comfort, and home cooking.

"In an environment where consumers are looking for food they can feel good about eating, Arby’s has created an advertising campaign that can extend and deepen the relationship we have with our customers," said John Lauck, president of Arby’s Franchisee Association (AFA). "We feel confident that our new campaign will enhance consumer’s perceptions regarding our brand and our oven roasted sandwiches."

So the answer to the immortal question "Who are the ad-wizards that came up with that one?" is Doner Advertising of Detroit, Michigan. I guess they're the ones that chose Tom Arnold to provide the voice, too.


Centennial Light WebCam

Check and see if the bulb at the Livermore Fire Department has finally burned out. Some background info:

Experts from 'Ripley's Believe it or Not', The Guinness Book of World Records, and General Electric have concluded that the light bulb has been burning continuously since 1901 (with the exception of power failutes and three times for moving to another station). The light bulb was manufactured by Shelby Electric Company and was hand blown with a carbon filament.

According to Mrs. Zylpha Bernal Beck (born 1884), the bulb was donated to the Fire Department by her father, Dennis Bernal, in 1901. Mr. Bernal owned the Livermore Power and Water Company and donated the bulb when he sold the company. This has been supported by several volunteer firefighters of that era.

There is a widespread interest in the lightbulb, visitors have come to see it from every state in the Union, and from many foreign countries.


Diary of a Politician Among His Constituency

Senator Tom Daschle's travel weblog documents (with a healthy dose of spin) his annual trip to South Dakota.