Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Simple acts of kindness... or at least common courtesy

Well...not to go all Pollyanna...but...

It's a harsh world. People are in a hurry...they're thoughtless and careless - certainly more so in America's big cities. I live in one of those.

As I struggle to get my consultancy going and get settled in my magnificent new city, little things resonate louder than ever.

Some things to consider:
-Turn indicators are named turn indicators for a reason. THEY INDICATE YOUR TURN. Use them and you won't get hit! It's just polite. AND - probably THE LAW?!

-As India.Arie's song "There's Hope" says: "It doesn't cost a thing so smile. You don't have to pay to laugh." Remember that when you pass someone in the grocery store or perhaps the sidewalk [though I know this does violate my DNE - do not engage - rule] a simple smile can go a long way to making wherever you live a better place.


-FOR THE LOVE OF GOD EXCUSE YOURSELF when you block someone's way or bump into them. I am SHOCKED by how many people over 40 [likely about when this particular form of manners stopped being taught - and therefore anyone that looks under 40 gets a pass since few have any manners whatsoever.] just plod along and expect YOU to move. I was horrified by the matronly St. John knit-wearing broad that shoved her way past me at Saks this last weekend. So much so that I loudly exclaimed "NO, excuse ME!" Gross.

-When did it become appropriate business etiquette to completely ignore E-mail? Spam is spam - don't get me wrong. But it's simply rude to ignore what are clearly thoughtful business correspondences personally addressed. Perhaps craft a standard "Thanks, but - no, thanks" response - or just take a moment to acknowledge receipt of the communique. Digitizing everything has led to poor manners - to be sure. Unsolicited crap is one thing. But - when it's clear that someone took the time to write to you for some reason. Take 3 seconds and respond. Simple as that. Whether you're bombarded with pitched from PR firms or responses to a job posting remember that one day it'll be YOUR E-mail that's ignored.

-NOW for the good news and what prompted this posting... I popped into a local grocer to pick up a few things to complete a meal I'm making this evening. With a limited budget and sense of trepidation - I approached the butcher case. The lovely young woman with the dreads and killer smile asked if she could help... I asked about the spicy Italian sausage (making pasta tonight)...she weighed a couple - which turned out to be more than I had intended to spend. I asked for just one. She asked me if I'd ever had this particular sausage. I told I had not - but had enjoyed several of the different chicken sausages they made. She smiled and told me that the second one was on the house as I should enjoy the flavor. Well...I tell you...my eyes almost welled up. I think thanked her with the most warm appreciation I could offer and smiled and went on my way. Not earth-shattering news. Just a WILDLY pleasant experience that COMPLETELY turned my day around. Think about it as you navigate through your day and smile.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 26, 2007

No Pickles, No Rachael, Extra, Extra Mayo...

So I thought she was a little overexposed of late. But...enjoyed her $40 visit to Chattanooga - though she missed some of the real deals!

But NOW, well, she's gone to far!

[from People Magazine]

Someone brought this to my attention and I have to say that Ms. Ray is dead to me.

Those who know me, know I L O V E mayonnaise. While I admit to a youthful indiscretion with Miracle Whip - now - it's the tangy goodness - the [as Joey would say] "moistmaker" mayo that rocks my condiment world. And - I've met a delightful new Southerner named Duke.

Anyway - I may wax poetic about my condiment of choice another time - but had to speak out against this culinary injustice.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't postpone joy...

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the

dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity:

but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act

their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."

—T. E. Lawrence from "Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Admittedly the last season of Roseanne was a little out there. But...as dissatisfying as the last episode was [though it neatly tied up some loose ends]...it ended with this quote. And it stuck with me. I tracked it down. I thank Roseanne for bringing it to my attention. Words of beauty and inspiration indeed.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chattanooga Ciao Ciao...answering the questions

OK...so many have asked why I relocated. SO...here's an article I was drafting for the Chattanooga Pulse (think Village Voice or Creative Loafing) but decided against publishing. Except - now - I'm publishing it here as some sort of cathartic cleanse - if you will. It's pretty there. It's affordable there. But there are issues... Here then is the article:

Looking back on a rocky road in the Scenic City – a tale for friends and family

Here we are two and a half years later. I have bid adieu to the ‘noog. It is not without sadness that I leave this little city on a river. I have met some of the most intriguing, wonderful, loving people here. I have also encountered the most backward, judgmental, hateful people as well. The city has come a long way from being what Walter Cronkite called “the filthiest city in America.” Unfortunately – things seem to have stalled. There are probably innumerable factors that have slowed or even halted, really, the great momentum of CHA. The great publisher of this paper (one of my first, key indicators that I could live here and one of the city’s undervalued treasures) said – “when you pull out – we’re going to give you a full page.” Well…I don’t want to take all your time and have decided that those who get it, know it – those who don’t, won’t. [This story is, therefore, a private rant for those I love or who are interested] I have pulled together some bullet points outlining the key reasons I had to go…in no particular order – some will include a little explanation – some will be painfully obvious – some, I suppose, may be cryptic.

o June Griffith – Chattanooga’s favorite hatemonger

o Mayor DooLittle – what’s Ann Coulter up to? Period costumes? Really?

o Parking meter madness – I don’t believe I’ve ever been ANYWHERE that has meters that run on the weekend – and certainly not until 11 PM. Way to annoy and discourage residents and visitors alike!

o 81% of the people of this state voted to exclude their friends and neighbors from enjoying the same rights as them.

o Zach Wamp

o The fact that a liberal republican and conservative democrat had to run as mirrors of whom they really are.

o Now - Berke vs. Brock. Really?

o McBayliePS – does it really matter where you went to high school once you’re over 20 years old? Really? REALLY?

o “Do what?” Has everyone forgotten the phrases “pardon me?” or perhaps “excuse me?” even “huh” sounds less dumb. “Beg Pardon” is charming. Incidentally – most times the other person hasn’t asked you to “do” anything.

o CNE (Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise) and the most inept building management I’ve ever encountered.

o The insanely artificially-inflated downtown housing market.

o Building a hobo mall doesn’t address the multiple car break-ins and regular aggressive panhandling on Market St. – or as it’s known the intersection of Super-fancy & Ghetto.

o Getting assaulted and beaten in the bathroom of a favorite hangout by ignorant, drunk frat boys.

o Little chance of growing my business – attention local businesspeople – if you hire expert consultants with lots of experience. Listen to them and pay your bills. You are not the only company that does what you do and quite possibly you are not the best one on the planet. (on a personal note: asking to be paid for delivered work product prior to undertaking additional work on a project nine months past due - is not walking away from said project – mkay?!)

o Patten Towers

o The notable lack of a middle class

o Very little chance of dating – this is a great town if you’re married or partnered (or 19 and want to have 10,000 babies).

o The single most negative colleague I’ve ever worked with and the primary reason I left my job and therefore eventually CHA…

o The Drive-Thru Bank district (or DriBa – as it’ll likely be branded!). Still need another one in that lot Berry, Hunt & Yarbrough? “Districts” in general, in a city this size. TriPoints (Tripe-O?)?

o Float a bond and buy out several of the Republic Parking properties to offer free (first hour only) and reasonable parking downtown or forget retail development. Take a look at how Savannah handles their parking for example.

o Mediocrity that passes for competence. Just because you’re the only one that does something or you’re funded by old money doesn’t mean you’re the best or even good.

o In The City Quasi-governmental entities that operate with public funding and in cahoots with a commercial entity shouldn’t be allowed to compete against competitors of said company.

o Less God. More Mod. No more regressive decisions based on "the Lord." No more TV stations deciding what Chattanoogans can or should watch. No more two steps forward and three steps back... I realize it's the buckle of the belt...but ya’ll are in serious danger of being left behind. Prospective residents and companies may begin to (or continue to) shy away if we continue our - sometimes disrespectful, exclusive, decidedly un-Christian, judgmental - ways. Believe and worship as you wish – but – if it continues to be crammed down people’s throats – Chattanooga will be nothing but a picturesque, moribund, backwards Southern city.

I’m proud of my time here. I think I accomplished a great deal. I think I made a positive impact on the people and businesses I encountered. I think I wrote some nifty articles for this paper. You may think this sounds like sour grapes – but let me assure you – they were sweet and fruity when I got here (insert whatever joke you wish here). There are some remarkable retailers and restaurants – and I’ve celebrated them in the pages of the Pulse… Anyway - this should give ya’ll something to ponder, discuss, argue about. In the words of Project Runway’s Tim Gunn: “Make it work people!”

Alas…it’s time for me to go. And when I speak of Cha Cha – and I will – I will be kind. I’m outta here.

So...that's why. It's nice to be back in the big city.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A little Friday inspiration...

My friend Tony sent me this GREAT quote...

TGIF Ya'll!

"I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after,
and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like
wine through water, and altered the color of my mind."

-Emily Bronte

Monday, October 8, 2007

A few of my favorite words...

As I work to determine what this will be and why I'm doing it - I am utilizing the process of elimination to figure out what it won't be.

Will I comment on Bjork's next ostrich gown - should another pop up? Sure. But - will I be a snarky hanger-on a la Perez? No. It always irks me when someone that makes Michael Ailig look like George Will deigns to tell people how to dress or act and such...though there are many out there doing so that should look in the mirror.
In fact, the only "fashion experts" I seem to like anymore are Stacy and Clinton.

This also won't be some snotty, pretentious, uptight foodie blather. I've promoted and marketed some of the finest restaurants in New York (Jean-Georges, Chanterelle...) and was the national PR manager for Whole Foods, but I won't gush about Star Provisions' truffle burger at the expense of Checkers - real "foodies" appreciate both. Don't get me wrong, I adore Star Provisions and their meats and cheeses are simply astounding. I do, however, also love Aldi.

Public relations and marketing are a big part of my life - so I'll likely talk about that. Though - there will be no "tipping points" or other "salesulizations" or "aspirational" buzz speak.

Read at your own risk. Tell me what you want to know what I think about...

As the "About me" section says: "I watch too much TV, drink Diet Coke, think $300 jeans are absurd - but will pay $5 for my coffee drink experience [go figure]*, can't schmooze but can chat up a storm and occasionally make you laugh. For some reason people seek my style (fashion and home) advice. For some reason I LOVE giving it [apple...tree...thanks Mom]. I'm new to Atlanta and ready to share my warped ramblings about the world."

Here we go...

* - in case you wondered - it's an iced quad venti sugar-free hazelnut nonfat (or breve) latte...