Friday, December 31, 2010

Icons of Badassery: Darth Vader

Icon of badassery: Darth Vader (David Prowse, voice of James Earl Jones)

Record of badassery: Star Wars (1977), Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Synopsis of badassery: Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, was the terror of the Star Wars galaxy, second in command only to the Emperor. His presence was intimidating both visually and audibly: his tall, cyborg body was encased entirely in stylized black armor and a flowing black cape, and he had a deep, commanding voice and robotic breathing apparatus that made ominous whooshing sounds. A fearsome warrior and powerful proponent of the Dark Side of the Force, he had once been a noble Jedi, but turned against his former brethren. Vader helped the Emperor systematically hunt down and execute the Jedi and solidify control of the galaxy. He wielded his power with impunity, killing enemies and even his own generals in cold blood, and using fear and calculating precision to drive those under his command. His control of the Force was absolute, allowing him to choke someone from a great distance, move large objects with his mind as if they weighed nothing, and deflect blaster fire with his hands. He was also one of the best fighter pilots in the galaxy, and a master of light saber combat. In the end, the unconditional love of his son was able to make him see the error of his ways; he died a hero from wounds suffered while killing the evil Emperor, showing that even the most reprehensible person could be redeemed. Star Wars creator George Lucas later botched the Darth Vader mythos with an unnecessary and nonsensical prequel trilogy, but in the original films, every moment of Vader screen time was electrifying.

Badass quote: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

Badass website: Time Capsule: Darth Vader 1980

Badass clip:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Icons of Badassery: The Fonz

Icon of badassery: Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler)

Record of badassery: Happy Days (television series, 1974-1984)

Synopsis of badassery: The Fonz was the coolest of the cool in everything he said and did, a 1950s era personality who became one of the 1970s’ most beloved characters. Fonzie was an auto mechanic and all-around “tough guy” with a heart of gold, serving as mentor and protector to the kids who hung out at Arnold’s restaurant in Milwaukee. He had a penchant for leather jackets and Harley Davidson and Triumph motorcycles, but he didn’t smoke and mostly set a good role model. He had a way with the ladies and anything mechanical: he could make a juke box play his favorite song just by bumping it with his fist, or make girls jump to his side just by snapping his fingers. He was a man of few words, often saying just “Aaayyy!” or “Whoa!” or giving his signature thumbs-up sign. Several episodes revolved around Fonzie performing dangerous stunts on his motorcycle, and in one infamous episode he ski-jumped over a tank filled with sharks.

Badass quote: “Sit on it!”

Badass websiteWhat Would Fonzie Do?

Badass clip:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa Corp. Factsheet

Founded: 1840

President & CEO: Nicholas “Kris” Kringle (a.k.a. “Santa Claus”)

Headquarters: North Pole

CEO residence: Korvatunturi, Finland

Manufacturing facilities (year built): North Pole (1869), Antarctica (1954), China (1998)

Employees*: 22,312 elves, 398 reindeer, 62 yeti, 4 humans, 1 snowman

Annual revenue*: $90.4 billion

Revenue sources: licensing deals (for example, use of the Santa Claus image by companies like Coca-Cola), patent fees (Santa Corp. owns patents on everything from the game of checkers to the technology behind Xbox Kinect), defense development contracts (stealth and project management technology for the U.S. military), toy manufacturing contracts (Hasbro, Parker Brothers, Tyco and others)

Annual charitable giving*: $59.7 billion

Annual corporate taxes paid*: $0

Distribution: “Santa's main (North Pole) distribution center is a sight to behold. At 4,000,000 square feet (370,000 square meters), it's one of the world's largest facilities. A real-time warehouse management system is of course required to run such a complex. The facility makes extensive use of task interleaving, literally combining dozens of distribution center activities (putaway, replenishing, order picking, sleigh loading, cycle counting) in a dynamic queue... the elves have been on engineered standards and incentives for three years, leading to a 12% gain in productivity...The WMS and transportation system are fully integrated, allowing (the elves) to make optimal decisions that balance transportation and order picking and other distribution center costs. Unbeknownst to many, Santa actually has to use many sleighs and (teams) to get the job done Christmas Eve, and the TMS optimally builds thousands of consolidated sacks that maximize cube utilization and minimize total air miles.” (source: SupplyChainDigest, December 16, 2004)

Controversy: “Occasionally you run across an adult who doesn't believe in Santa Claus, which of course is just foolish. Santa's existence is well-documented by forensic scientists, and there are several new sightings by credible sources every Christmas Eve. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is even able to track his movements globally with the aid of a sophisticated, multi-billion dollar tracking system built specifically for that purpose. Santa is elusive to be sure, but the evidence is there. In the 1950s and '60s, teenagers in the U.S., and later in Great Britain and elsewhere, began spreading rumors that Santa was a hoax. Why these allegations were able to gain traction is beyond me, although it should be noted that smoking was also popular among teens during this time, so apparently they were willing to believe anything. That the rumors persist to this day speaks to the deep, underlying cynicism in our society - no doubt attributable to those adults who were naughty enough as children to never enjoy the magic of getting presents from St. Nick to begin with. And of course, the role of the major toy companies in perpetuating these rumors cannot be discounted, for while Santa is now heavily invested in them - and indeed directly manufactures many of their toys at his North Pole, South Pole and China facilities - there was a time not so long ago (the Great Toy Recession of 1972) when that relationship was severely strained.” (source: Wull Street Journal editorial, April 11, 2009)

* Source: 2007 Santa Corp Annual Report

Friday, December 17, 2010

Icons of Badassery: Michael Knight and K.I.T.T.

Icons of badassery: Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and K.I.T.T. (voice of William Daniels)

Record of badassery: Knight Rider (television series, 1982-1986)

Synopsis of badassery: Not even being shot in the face could stop undercover cop Michael Long from fighting crime. With the support of a mysterious benefactor (dying millionaire Wilton Knight, chairman of Knight Industries), he received a new face, a new identity – Michael Knight, and the resources he needed to target criminals who operated “above the law.” He was aided by K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand), a virtually indestructible, fully automated, talking supercar. K.I.T.T. was one bad-ass vehicle: a sleek, black, customized Pontiac Trans-Am that was superfast and loaded with cool gadgets like flamethrowers and infrared sensing devices. Best of all, K.I.T.T. was programmed with advanced artificial intelligence and displayed a fully rounded personality that made the car as compelling a character as its driver. The show was kept exciting by the genuine bond and engaging banter between laidback Michael and uptight K.I.T.T., as well as by fantastic stunts and memorable villains (such as K.I.T.T.’s evil doppelganger, K.A.R.R.).

Badass quote: Michael: “K.I.T.T., they’re still shooting at us!” K.I.T.T.: “Why, thank you, Michael, but I’ve noticed myself.”

Badass website:

Badass clip:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Twisdom 4

Every once in a while, I tweet something that stands on its own. Sometimes it's poetic, sometimes silly and sometimes just a little observation that has a kernel of wisdom in it. Here are some of those tweets.

Bumped my knee and now it hurts. That's not cool. You know what is cool? A fire tornado.

The interior decorator at the Salt Lake City airport apparently had nothing left to live for.

I lose faith in humanity every morning during rush hour.

I only have two speeds: "balls-to-the-wall" and "off."

There is no such thing as a "Chocolate Frosty." It is either a "Frosty" or a "Vanilla Frosty." A "Frosty" is chocolate. End of discussion.

I hate food.

I want to die in outer space.

Is it wrong that I feel like I wasted my time voting, because I didn't get a sticker?

God invented sweet potato fries just for me.  :)

i retract my previous statement - there is no zombie ninja government conspiracy - i HavE onLy resPect for the governMEnt

Every time someone gets a text message, an angel gets its wings.

Lois Lane dies. In his grief, Superman flies so fast he reverses the rotation of the Earth - killing everyone else on the planet. The end.

Yuck, Diet Pisspee.

I'm smarter than I look. And better looking.

I'm using my powers for evil today.

fejujenbkd... this time of night no longer sane... if ever... not sure what I need... try sleep again... not disney channel... suite life...

Was just listing Life Savers flavors, and I was doing ok at pep-o-mint and wint-o-green, but I think I took a wrong turn at butt-o-scotch...

Everybody gets a monkey!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Way out of the office

If you email me while I’m out of the office, you’ll usually get a bland, functional reply:
I am out of the office on business. I will be checking messages, but may not be able to respond immediately. I will return (date) and will respond to your message at that time. If you need immediate assistance, please contact (alternate contact) at (alternate contact’s email address), or call me on my mobile phone at (number).

Best Regards,
(my name, fancy title and contact information)
Yuck. How drab. As a marketing person, I think I can do better. Here are three new out of office messages I am thinking of trying out…

1. Anachronistic:
Thank you for your too kind message. I assure you that it breaks my heart not to be able to respond right now, as I am away. Please have patience and strength as you await my reply, unfortunately delayed. I will return to the office two days hence and will be overjoyed to converse with you by electronic mail at that time.

Your Humble Servant,
Rico Detroit
2. Bacchanalian:
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, I am on a corporate boondoggle and not in the office right now. I am not checking email this week, just living large on the company dime. (Carpe diem!) I’ll be back in the office on (date), but to be honest it will probably be such a bummer to be back that I won’t feel like catching up on email, and I’ll probably just “recycle” my entire inbox. (Oops!) Why don’t you hold onto your thought and email me again in a few weeks, once I’ve sobered up. If they haven’t fired me by then, I promise I’ll think about emailing you back.

Go Saints!
Rico Detroit

3. Cheeky:
I am not in the office right now. I will return on (date) and will answer my emails in order of priority at that time. To help me do this, I am using automatic prioritization software. For example, use of the following terms will increase your email’s priority: beer, football, naked, taco, Vegas and Xbox. On the other hand, use of the following terms will lower it: efficiency, meeting, optimize, romantic comedy, return on investment and team-building. The program’s algorithm will also raise your priority if you sound “hot,” but lower it drastically if you’re an asshat. (I don’t know how it knows, but it knows.) If I take longer than a week to respond, assume the latter.

Rico Detroit

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cow or alien?

This is how the seemingly innocuous cow mask was intended to be worn:

And, having stumbled across it, this is how my eight-year-old assumed it should be worn: