Memes of New York

someecards meme creation for facebook

I have always been a big fan of the late, great Dave Barry. I say late because, as of the writing of this post, he is fifteen years late responding to my fan mail. Seriously though, his writing style has been truly inspirational to me. Every word so carefully crafted, it’s as if his filter was not a six pack of Budweiser, but a chain mail of brilliance. A lot of what made his writing so ingenious was his ability to pull together the most random of objects or discussion points, find a hidden link and tie them together to a wonderfully resounding denouement.

In the hopes of following in his steps, I want to talk about the memes that have recently been littering my Facebook news feed (I am referring to the images with a clever quote overlaid ..or something like that). Where did this phenomenon originate? Who came up with this crazy thing? To find out, I decided to use some investigative journalism. [Note to the IRS: Yes, it has been a long time since I’ve done any investigative journalism, but if you take a look at my previous articles, you will see I definitely do it for business reasons.] This time, my professional journalistic nature took me to the grand city of New York.

For those of you who have not yet been to New York City, let me tell you a bit about this wonderfully stuffed berg. It houses two of the most hated baseball teams in the Major Leagues and is the only logical city for Spiderman to sling around in. Let’s be honest – imagine if Spiderman lived in Omaha, NE. All he could do would be to spin a huge net between the Woodmen Tower and the First National Bank Building. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think he’d be very effective that way unless criminals were sling shooting themselves through the air.

Back to New York. While there, I ran into the tremendously helpful Jolene Smithers. When asked about her knowledge of the funny card corporation, Someecards, she excitedly responded, “Who?” To help jog her memory, I told her I was talking about those funny cards that get passed around a lot on Facebook. Now clear on what I was asking about, she said, “Oh, I don’t do that Facebook thing. Sorry.” That confirms only 1 of the 18 million people living in New York are not familiar with these memes, proving these are obviously significant no matter where you live.

Why does this matter? It matters because these memes are so completely helpful to our daily life. Thousands of barely surviving business struggle on Facebook trying to provide relevant and informative information to their constituent base, but they’re not doing anything for the gazillion Facebookers out there; nobody cares about helpful information anymore – mindless entertainment is the way to go! I could not agree more, as I am certainly a huge fan of mindless entertainment. I must say though that I am not a fan of the letter games going around; I’ve spent all day trying to figure out how many states do not have any vowels and I’m now way behind on work.

That is why I am so fond of Dave Barry’s work; his mind is as disconnected as mine and he doesn’t use words more complicated than “potato”. I’m pretty sure if they had memes back in the 80s, he would have become a millionaire (but only if he had been the one to invent them). [Note to the IRS: I admit this does not seem like a lot of research for an entire trip to New York, but I can assure you that I have more crackpot investigations to come; such as, what would happen if the Incredible Hulk got trapped in the subway? Or, what exactly does crab juice taste like? Trust me, there is a ton more where that came from.]

someecards meme creation for facebook

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The Incredible Dork-i-ness of Being

I admit to being a dork, and truthfully, I don’t exactly mind it. There is a lot of fun allowed in this world to the dorks, nerds (smarter versions of dorks) and generally unappreciated members of society. Bart Simpson himself is a dork – he gets bullied at school, hangs out with Milhouse (and, at times, Martin) and is a failure at being a rebel because he cares too much. Coincidentally, that would be the first piece of evidence of my dorkiness; my ability and desire to discuss deeper philosophical issues from the Simpsons. But part of what makes life so much fun is relating most everything to the krazy karacters headlining Fox’s Sunday night animation domination (Peter Griffin, is still second to Homer).

The topics of deep discussion move forward from there, but not necessarily upward. One of my favorite debates is the swallow’s ability to transport coconuts. Before you ask me whether I am talking about African or European swallows, let’s make sure we stay on track. And was it really that hard for Lois Lane to not catch Superman hiding behind Clark Kent’s glasses? I will always side with Aragorn’s story over Frodo’s and am honestly glad that the movies did not include the 27 more endings for Return of the King that the book did. I enjoy having my opinions and arguing their basis for insight on human nature; after all, how would we know not to skip immediately to ludicrous speed if not for Dark Helmet’s mistake?

As I’ve aged, the naysayers that laughed at me during puberty have all fallen into silence. It’s incredible to note that more people seem to discuss Glee in public circles today than the Philadelphia Eagles’ plummet from the ranks of the NFL elite. By the way, I do not in any way endorse Glee – I have never seen an episode and do not intend to – I would still rather watch an Eagles’ game (despite me NOT being a fan and their dismal play of late). Being a dork isn’t really made fun of anymore – it’s glorified, respected; even admired. This is unlike one of the other labels I have been living under.

In media, culture and even some individual chatter, being a Christian is becoming more and more a joke. Not a Peter vs. the Giant Chicken kind of joke, but a serious offense against the rest of the world. As humans, we are all in this together, and though we each have our own opinions and beliefs on what is best and how to move forward, we still occupy the same space with each other. Whether or not there is room enough on this planet for all the differing opinions does not matter; we are all stuck here on this planet and all life (thus all opinions) have a right to exist.

As a Christian, I hold to certain opinions (the content of those opinions is not important here). This is where most people get angry, as they see those opinions as intolerant and aggressive towards other worldviews. Why? Look at this first part of the sentence: “As a Christian…” This means that I have chosen to live under a certain set of principles. My opinions are held for those who choose to live under the same set of standards. If I were to say, “As an American, I believe in taxation with representation”, that would be a belief held by those who choose to live under America’s standard; regardless of how they became a citizen. That may not be the opinion in another country, but I have no right, rhyme or reason to judge the citizen of another country that does not espouse that belief.

People who have chosen to live under another faith, or no faith at all, have ultimately chosen a different set of standards and principles to live under. That is their choice. Do I believe that my faith has something to offer other people? Absolutely, and I’m not afraid to share that. But it is still their choice to follow. If they choose not to, then they are free to live with whatever opinions they see most desirable. Tolerance is allowing them that decision. There are those inside my same faith who believe it is their duty to push their rules onto other people. Those people also exist in every faith, nationality and world view. In the end, each individual is accountable for only themselves.

I cannot nor will not answer for the inquisition, Holy wars, or even Jimmy Swaggert. What other people have done in the name of their country, their faith, or even themselves is a problem for every race and creed. What I can answer for is myself. Are my acts friendly, loving, and full of grace? After all, if you sum up everything in the Bible it comes down to one thing: love.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

It’s incredible being a dork.

Does Your Website Have the Strength to Be a Hero? Supercharge with Analytics!

Originally posted at Stickboy Creative, but written by me.

A bullet train is speeding quickly across the terrain, unknown to the dangers only a few miles ahead. In the middle of a long bridge lies Lois Lane, tightly tied to the tracks. At the end of the river span lays a case full of dynamite meant to throw the train and all its passengers down the chasm. Suddenly, with a flash, a red and blue blur zaps past the watchers-by on the train. Superman unties Lois and lands her safely in the plain, then blasts back to toss the dynamite into outer space. The day is saved!

Superman references are fun, and we are a creative design firm with a specialty in web design and development, so I’m going to launch this with a classic. Look in the sky! It’s a bird; it’s a plane; I don’t know what it is and it’s headed this way! Run! Ok, so that’s not the way it happened in the comics. Everybody automatically trusted Superman and the heroes, allowing them whatever freedom they needed to save the day. If only comic books were real life (of course, there might be a world-wide shortage of spandex if that were the case).

Just like the nice, neat wrap-ups that happen in every comic book story, we trust that our marketing pieces are ultimately going to win the day. But do they? Can you trust that? We believe in our heroes not because of spandex outfits and golden lassos, but because data tells us so. Case in point: would you trust a man dressed in a giant black bat costume walking through the shadows of the dark alleyway downtown? If your answer is yes, then I worry you may be under a spell from one of Scarecrow’s poisons.

Of course not! It’s our human nature to mistrust a person or a company until they’ve proven themselves. Building trust takes evidence; data is the answer. Thus, let me ask you this: are you collecting and interpreting data on your website’s success? Do you know how many visitors frequent your website? Where did they come from? How did they find you? Are they bouncing away from your site faster than Mr. Freeze could blanket Gotham City in ice?

If you do not know how to find the answer to these questions, then you cannot turn that data into solutions. All of a sudden you’ve loaded yourself down with kryptonite and don’t have the power to change anything. If you are aware there is no lead shield protecting you, then install Google Analytics for free (http://analytics.google.com) on your site and get yourself saved from the unknown. With knowledge comes power, and with great power comes great responsibility (thanks for the cross-over, Spiderman!). Make your website responsible, even responsive through actively listening to your customers. This is information your website itself can provide.

With this kind of information you will be able to change or adapt to best fit your target base. Do they prefer clicking on organic searches as opposed to paid ads? What should you invest in? Are people spending all of their time on your pricing page researching, but never contacting you? Maybe that means you are being shopped. With the proper information, you can make the changes necessary to ensure your success, both now and down the line.

We all long for that green ring of power, turning every desired thought into reality, but we are not Green Lanterns. There is no guarantee of success, no magical fairy dust that will fill your store to capacity each week. We must collect, analyze, and interpret the data so an informed, powerful decision can be made. We suggest Google Analytics due to the site being free and there being access and help through the site to get yours installed, though there are many services out there. And, as always, if you find yourself surrounded by enemies of confusion with no help in sight, we will be there to rescue you. Just don’t expect me to wear a cape.

Posted from http://www.superman-picture.com/

2006 Summer Movie Preview

I am so excited over this summer’s movie outlook that I may wretch. No, really. Originality rules in this season of blockbusters. And it all starts with Tom Cruise’s (“Marrying a daughter near you next!”) new movie, in which he stars as a secret agent trying to keep corrupt antagonists from taking over the world. Included in the film will be explosions, car chases, gun fights, and sex. That’s never been done before! As the days get longer, the hot, new idea of making sequels will push the envelope of moviegoer patience, and will end late this fall in a brash array of explosions, car chases, gun fights and sex. I don’t want to spoil the surprise finale of this season’s big budget melodramas, but let’s just say that this movie’s leading man drinks a lot of shaken vodka martinis.

When was the last original Hollywood movie? After much extensive research, I found that it was made in 1594. It ended up flopping, but that’s just because it was pitted up against the second James Bond movie on its opening weekend. America, this is a problem. Year after year we are fed leftovers from so-called creative geniuses claiming that this season “is the best ever!” In an effort to learn from our repetitive diet of gruel, let’s discuss what we’ll be viewing this summer.

First up after Mr. Cruise is the finale of the X-Men trilogy. People with super powers will be trying to kill other people with super powers. Soon after that, the Man of Steel will make his long-awaited return to the silver screen, this time played by a former soap opera actor wearing a costume that looks more like a gigantic condom than the much beloved blue tights and red underwear. And lastly we anticipate the return of Captain Jack Sparrow, a fruity rock star turned pirate who searches the Caribbean seas for ways to be a good man and a pirate at the same time. I’m sure it will be a swashbuckling adventure with him fighting alongside Legolas (sporting short, brown hair and badly sparse facial hair), our elfin hero from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

As we can see, Hollywood (“Striving to bring you the same movie again and again”) is lacking for original content. Thus, I am going to break out of my journalistic routine of criticizing everyone else while sitting here typing in my underwear and give our famed movie makers a new idea. I’m still not changing out of my underwear, though.

SCENE ONE
Picture an office on the ground floor of a dilapidated office building on the south side of Chicago. Inside the office sits a man, wearing a leather fedora and who hasn’t shaven in days. On the office door hangs a sign that reads “Lt. Hugh Cruise, Private Detective”. Enter the voluptuous blonde.
“Hello there, ma’am, may I help you?”
“Yes, I’d like a Big Mac extra value meal with Diet Coke and a salad shaker.”
“I’m sorry, but McDonald’s won’t be in business for another fifteen years. This is the olden days, and I am a private detective.”
“Oops! I apologize; it’s just that I haven’t eaten all day! I’m on the run from my husband, the violent drug lord Al ‘The Pacino’ Luthor. If he finds me, he’ll surely kill me! Can you help me?”
“Of course I can, but I’don’t come cheap. I have to pay rent, you know.”
“My husband has all my money. Would you like me to make love to you instead?”
“No! It’s not that kind of movie. Well, at least not until the final scene. You see, we’ll be on the beach laughing about how your dead husband killed himself while trying to kill me. Then we’ll make love under the moonlight on top of his pile of money that he foolishly left to you in his will. Why don’t you just take me out for a drink; I’m in desperate need of a Roy Rogers—shaken, not stirred.”

SCENE TWO
Our ruggedly handsome and witty protagonist rushes to the airport for a flight to British Columbia, the winter home of the notoriously evil Al Luthor. He has kidnapped his wife and is holding her for ransom until Detective Cruise turns himself in, allowing for a very elaborate and easily escapable death scene.
“Hello, and welcome to ‘No Fly Air’. May I help you?”
“Yes. I need to get on the next flight to British Columbia.”
“And which country is that in?”
“The home of the only country who failed to win a gold medal in the Olympics they hosted.”
“I’m sorry, but we don’t fly to Canada. We only have flights departing from Canada, since no one wants to go there. The lady at the next counter might be able to help you.”
Trotting over to the next counter, Hugh repeats his question. “Do you have any flights to BC?”
“We do sir. We have one departing in about an hour. One ticket will cost you $5,384,586,657.99. Would you like me to book you a seat?”
“If I have to. Do you take credit cards?”
“Yes we do.”
“Here’s my Discover card.”
“I’m sorry, we don’t take Discover.”
“Mastercard?”
“No.”
“American Express?”
“No.”
“Visa?”
“No.”
“Fine. Here’s cash.”
“Thank you sir, have a nice day.”
Forced to run through the gigantic labyrinth of airport concourses, Hugh barely makes it to the gate by the departure time. Unbeknownst to him, the flight has been delayed for two weeks.

SCENE THREE
Finally arriving in BC, Hugh manages to find the secret hideout of Al Luthor. It’s at the neighborhood Applebee’s.
“You made it, Mr. Cruise. I’ve been waiting for you. For a long time, actually; I was beginning to think you weren’t going to make it.”
“Of course you’d think that, Luthor, but I’m here and I’m going to stop you this time.”
“You say that every movie. Just once, I’d like to see you actually keep me from getting away.”
“Fifteenth time’s a charm.”
“We’ll see about that. Henchmen, come here!”
At Luthor’s call, two evil henchmen enter. The first, a chubby fellow wearing a running suit that looks like a tuxedo enters, brandishing a gigantic sea bass as his weapon. He has a laser beam attached to his head. The second, a woman wearing only green body paint and can transform herself into any tax law since 1996, came in with the voluptuous vixen clawed in her grasp.
“This movie’s henchmen won’t get me either, Luthor!”
“No, but they’ll temporarily capture you and lock you in an escapable cell which you’ll break out of quickly, assuming you have your pocket knife and a pair of tube socks.”
“I also brought some duct tape.”
“Away with him!”
As predicted, our hero broke out of the cell and tracked Al Luthor to a cliff overlooking the sea. The two evil henchmen tried to stop Hugh Cruise, but he outwitted them with a card trick. The vixen was thrown aside, and the two main characters prepared for the final showdown.
“You know, Hugh, before I kill you, there’s something you should know. I am your father.”
“No you’re not. My father died last year of consumption.”
“I know I’m not technically your father, but I was best friends with your real father while we grew up. I am your Godfather.”
“No!”
“Face it, it is true. Now on your guard!”
Al Luthor attacked and missed, plummeting himself off the cliff. The climax had ended and it was time for the sex scene finale. Tired and beaten up, Hugh walked over to the rescued damsel. His shirt was torn, revealing the chest of a twenty-year old body builder.
“Hugh, you’re hurt! And you have the abs of a gymnast!”
“I may be sixty-five, but I’m still making movies.”
“It’s almost sad my husband died. He was scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate in evil from Harvard next month.”
“There’s no telling if he’s dead, my lady. In fourteen previous movies, I’ve been unable to actually kill him. But that doesn’t matter; it’s time for us to make love.”
“Not yet! We forgot the explosion, car chase, and gun fight, not to mention the mandatory two hundred and seventy-seven curse words.”
“We’ll worry about that in the next movie.”