Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Unlikely advertising bedfellows

You all remember this ad, right? It was the major pork ad campaign of the 1990s (or was it 1980s?). Let's go back to that innocent time. Housewives were busy making their men dinners of steak, roast beef, shishkabobs, and meatloaf, when (ALAS!) a study was published letting us know all about the evils of cholesterol. And what has cholesterol more than beef? [Well, there's lard, right?] So, in droves, women scoured the markets looking for healthier meats. Wa-la! The chicken was born. And along with it came oodles of recipes: fried chicken, chicken a la king, chicken kiev, and my fav-o-rite: spanish chicken loaded with garlic. Poor, poor pork was overlooked [like Cinderella]. One pig farmer after another gathered around the pig slaughter houses extolling the greatness that is pork. It was like preaching to the choir [or like convincing a butcher that steel blades are better than plastic]. What to do what to do? Then, one glorious day a man arrived riding a white horse [or a white cadillac] and said, "I can save you! I am, after all, an ad man." The rest is history.

Now, fast-forward to 2007. And this is what we have.

The situation is similar, no? Beef is replaced by Osama bin Laden [in the Reagan years]. Chicken is either Afghanistan or Iraq...take your pick, though Iraq works out nicely in this little scenario I've laid out for you, and Kurdistan (or Iraqi-Kurdistan) is, of course, pork. The ad man is a little older, charges less, but said, "I've got a slogan that will work. It's tried and true. And what's more? I'll sell it to you for half of what I sold it to the pig farmers." The rest is history. [Oh, hell with it! It doesn't work out. And, no, the situation is not similar at all. Screw it.]

But reallyl, I kid you not. This is really out there. If you don't believe me [nay sayer!] go to the Kurdistan Regional Government website, or their touristy one: Really, I can't make this up. I just can't.

BTW, I so want to have a t-shirt with this on it. I l-o-v-e it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If I were president...

If you were President/Prime Minister for a day, with the power to do absolutely anything (Supreme Court? What Supreme Court?), what would you do and why?
I say this with gravity: I hope that day never comes.

However, for sake of argument, if I were President I would get the best thinkers of the day together to find solutions to create a vision to act upon. I love the idea of Vaclav Havel becoming a leader in the former Czechoslovakia. I would cleanse the government of corporate influence. Include artists, doctors, architects, urban planners, economists, educators, etc. into my cabinet...and then, of course, rock the world!...or at least the U.S.

You can read all the other contestant below. And then vote here if you're not registered. And here if you are.
Leaf - Read More
Scott - Read More
BunGirl - Read More
Grumpamoose - Read More
Peter Namtvedt - Read More
Bob Bachus - Read More
Michelle L. - Read More
MJ Taylor - Read More
Jayne - Read More
Zybron - Read More
lonelygurl - Read More
TooBIG - Read More
An Honest Woman - Read More
Stepford Mom - Read More
ShadyLady - Read More
Some Go Softly - Read More
Debaloo - Read More
Jan - Read More

Mightier than thou attitude shattered

Okay, so I check BBC News briefly [procrastination technique, refined in college] before getting into some work that I brought home. Nothing catches my eye, so I scroll down to the 'Most e-mailed stories.' This is usually a hoot ['hoot' came up in a recent meeting and all attending resolved to use it as much as humanly possible] and, frankly, very telling of people's interests. I mean, there could be a major coup in Thailand and the most e-mailed story ends up being about who Prince Henry is dating. Today is no different.

Headlines: French unions strike over reforms.

Most e-mailed story: Cat's daily routine baffles owners

I read this and automatically go into a rampage. "What the hell is this world coming to? Who the hell cares about a damned cat and it's routine? This strike is going to be huge and far-reaching. I must read about that. Why aren't other people? What's wrong with the...what....what's this..."

My eye drifts around and page and catches the title of the second most e-mailed story: "Man marries bitch to beat curse."

I click and succumb.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Random pieces

About a week ago I was accused of drinking while blogging. Alas, it was true. You drink one martini, and you're a martini drinker for life. Geesh! Ease up there. Well anyway, despite the snickers, I'm going forth with my stream-of-conscience connections of things because they are interesting to me. Martini aside. So here it goes and enjoy! Oh! And the {comments} are mine...for fun...'cuz it's fun!

1. I love that Turkey's president-elect, Abdullah Gül thinks that the US is an occupier of Iraq. Check this out:
Gül criticized that kind of selective approach [to various types of terrorism] {read: protecting the oil pipelines...cuz it's terrorism, cuz terrorism is scary and economic monkeywrenching isn't}, saying: “If you choose to combat a certain type of terrorism while remaining indifferent to others, that is not understandable. If you are not strong enough to do it, then we call on the US to act in accordance with its responsibilities as an occupier.” {He said it! I heard him say it!} <1>

2. Also, here's a great diddy from some energy futurists out there:

In the post-Iraq War period, the energy issue should also strengthen U.S.-Turkish relations. Turkey's strategic value sometimes comes under doubt. But Turkey is an important route for the export of oil from northern Iraq. {like the long lost soul mates that Bush couldn't find in Putin} <2>

3. And this beauty of an article came from the Seattle Times, but a week ago saying,

While reining in their ambitions just short of independence, the Kurds are moving to expand their territory, take charge of their oil and insulate themselves in a hostile neighborhood. They are looking to Hunt Oil {who are WAY connected and bought a big old chunk of oil rights up in northern Iraq from either the Kurds or the one is sure, but the Kurds are smiling all the way to the bank and back to the arsenal to grab more guns to protect their stuff} and other investors to help them get free of the violence and political paralysis of Baghdad. And they want to do it before U.S. troops leave Iraq. {because we are said aforementioned economic, stabilizing occupier} <3>
4. Oh, and before I of Hunt Oil's major players is Hon. Jeanne L. Phillips. Who's a Busshie fav...organized his first siege of the presidency [inaguration] in record time. Way to go Jeanne! And btw, read her stunning Q + A with the New York Times Magazine and you'll realize that she and Busshie have a lot in common intellectually.

5. Oh, and did I forget that Hunt is buddy buddy with Busshie himself? Check this out:

Many, including officials with other oil companies in Iraq, find it hard to believe that President Bush and Ray Hunt, a longtime supporter, did not talk about this deal before it was signed, or that the Kurdistan Regional Government chose to award a concession to the U.S. company without paying much attention to its political connections with the White House. {is anyone paying attention?}

Hunt is a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. {comment: someone explain that!}

Bush said at a news conference that the Hunt Oil deal in Iraq was a
complete surprise {snicker, snicker}.
Hunt said he has not talked about it with Bush or anyone else {even his dog} in the U.S. government, either before it was signed Sept. 8 or since {in fact, I'm not even talking about it now}. <3>

6.Being on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board is like a hall pass. Here's what the members are privy to, straight from the White House page:
In carrying out their mandate, the members of the PFIAB enjoy the confidence of the President and have access to all the information related to foreign intelligence that they need to fulfill their vital advisory role.{read: get to know all the good, how is this not worse than insider trading? Can someone tell me?}

Can I have a martini now?

<1> Found at "TURKEY: Gül: My Visit to Baku to be a Turning Point in Bilateral Ties" 06.11.2007
<2> Found at "Startup of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: Turkey's Energy Role" by Soner Cagaptay and Nazli Gencsoy. May 27, 2005

Bush + Turkey = *Heart*

I became super suspicious this morning reading my BBC News and eating my Boo Berry cereal. The article was US 'to help Turkey combat rebels'. And while that's all good, why is it my stommy has that queasy feeling? It's because Busshie is seemingly doing good, when we know better. Here's a recap:

A long, long time ago in a place far away [when Iraq had UN economic sanctions for 8 years] Turkey lost a tidy $80 billion in oil revenues on a major pipe line...the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, to be exact, running from Kirkuk's gianormous oil field to the Mediterranean port town of Ceyhan, Turkey. [Take a look at the map to see of what I speak.] What, you say? Kirkuk in northern Iraq...where those nasty Kurds live who were killing the Turks? Yes!
Concerns that the flow might be halted due to clashes between Turkish troops and Kurdish rebels helped take oil futures to a record of over $90 a barrel last week.

A pro-rebel news agency quoted one of the leaders of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) last week as saying the guerrillas could strike oil pipelines if Turkish troops attacked them.
And here we thought it was all Busshie acting like a kid amongst spatting parents: "Can't we all just get along?"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The a phoenix

Like a phoenix, Gap is rising from the ashes of using child labor. In The Guardian today, Gap is looking to create a label designation on their products stating: "child labor free." To most of us, I think this would come as a big no-brainer. I for one, certainly don't think that any of the clothes that I own were created at the hands of children sold into slavery. However, even proponents think this is a bold move. Why? Because, if they are found to have used child labor they could be sued. Really?! So...if you use child labor and you don't have a "child labor free" tag, then it's hunky dory? Really?! So, this really does seem like a good step forward for Gap.

However, there are still some issues.

The first is what happened to the the child labor created Gap smocked girls' shirts? Well, I emailed Gap about this and got a very, very generic response. Sigh. "Jo" the public relations person who sent the letter must be cowering. Anyway, the fact still remains that the clothes should not be destroyed, but I already covered that earlier.

Second, one has to think about the factories themselves. Forget the fact that there are children working in factories (okay, that's a hard one to forget...just put it to the side of your mind for now). What type of factory is it that can have children working in it? Guaranteed, this is a larger issue. It's not like the other adult employees of this (and similar) factories are getting paid minimum wage with full medical and dental, with paid vacations, with 8 hour days including breaks. No. These factories are employing people who have no other (or really few) options. Therefore the factory can pay people crap, expect them to work s**tty hours, fire them at a drop of a hat in a poor work environment.

This thing with Gap is the tip of the ice berg. Good that there will be "child labor free" tags, but like the coffee I drink, shouldn't there be a larger picture addressed, like "free trade" tags??

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oil Prices...I know why they're so high

So oil is now at $93/barrel. Last summer I was betting my dad they wouldn't go above $60. No money on it, thank goodness. Yes, it's going to go higher. But why? OPEC has been trying their darnedest to control it. Way to go OPEC, for thinking of us. We salute: SALute! Some say it's the Kurdish unrest, others the Nigerian unrest. However, they apparently don't have my keen Mel-Gibson's-crazy-character-regarding-kidnapped-son (am I mixing my movies?) ability to pull together random news into logical, yet somehow unbelievable twists. So here it goes:
The Red Sox's win...there's bound to be an Argentinian on the team, right...okay, so maybe they've met Argentinian President Kirchner whose wife, Cristina, is now president-elect. She perhaps knows someone in Israel (or Gaza, but not likely) who happened to cut fuel to Gaza. Now, the Gazans send a shout out to their buddies in Syria who are hanging with the Turks (Likely? Really? I have no idea.) The Turks are all like "Whassup?! S**t, we're gonna mess with that." And then then the Turks cause trouble with the Kurds, which BBC says caused oil increases.