Thursday, July 28, 2005

Design and Corporations

Because all you ever hear about in school is individual genius, and because I like design, and because it's earnings week and I read the Journal, I've been thinking about great design companies. Let's recognize firms that design well, or for whom design is central to their organization. It's a top three list for now:

3. Toll Brothers: They're detailing is way beyond what, e.g., Hovanian is able to do. More importantly, they've been good at developing whole new categories of residential development (think 50+ active living communities).

2. Apple: No other company is as closely identified with design. And they're products *are* good. The ipod, itunes, ilife: they're transformative. And I generally like the packaging.

1. Starbucks: Okay, first they helped introduce coffee to the mass market - or moreso changed where and how we consume it. But it's not about the coffee (and Starbucks knows it). Starbucks is giving people a third place that you can visit during the day.

Honorable mention: Proctor and Gamble, IKEA.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Lindsay Lohan to fight Duran-Duran

Rumor has it that Lindsay Lohan is slated to play the, er, titular role in a remake of Barbarella. She better start snacking again. It's not like you can save the universe on an empty stomach, Lindsay...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Food for Thought

Like most of the world, I'm disappointed with Lindsay Lohan. Her trajectory from young girl to young woman to young celebrity is an ugly camel's hump. The Hayley Millsesque wholesomeness of her early years was endearing enough, and the milk-fed beauty she displayed in recent pictures is a kind not often seen in Hollywood. Between filming and publicizing her recent lotfiller Herbie: Fully Loaded, however, she's gone downhill. Her well-publicized weight loss is, at best, a questionable career move.

Miss Lohan's argument that because she is a celebrity she should be shaped like one carries little weight. Rather it feeds a growing crisis in our society as the gap between the images we promote in the media and the snacker's lifestyle we maintain becomes ever wider. I have been hoping that the national publicity surrounding Miss Lohan's recent evolution would turn into national outrage. Perhaps blogs like this may help.

I, for one, am the kind of person who hungers for real, natural, healthy beauty. Are our ranks so thin?

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Bloggable Brody in Review I

As this blog is coming up on its one hundredth day, I wanted to review its progress. All in all, it has turned out better than I expected. Just as intended, I have infrequently published a mix of posts about both me and topics that interest me -- though I should note that I'm publishing less infrequently than some other bloggers that I follow. I have found writing to be a rewarding experience that sharpens my thinking about important subjects. What do you think? Is there something more/less that you'd like from the bloggable brody? Have there been particular posts that you've enjoyed more than others?

The Bloggable Brody in Review II

I started working with AdSense a couple of weeks ago - no doubt you've noticed the tastefully unobtrusive content-linked ads on the site. I see the ads as a first step in monetizing the bloggable brody brand. Not much happened the first week, but on July 8th, bam!, I made my first 41cents.

In case you're wondering, this site has totalled 221 page impressions, 12 clicks, and $1.03 in total earnings since I first placed ads on the site July 1st. Peak numbers were 40 impressions, 4 clicks, and $.63, all on different days.

$1.03 is a start, but I intend to make much more. Though I'm no expert, I think my 5.4% click through rate is actually pretty good. If I can significantly scale up the number of page impressions while maintaining this rate I should be sitting pretty. I'm going to work hard on this - look in the coming week for new content and a subtle rebranding of the site so that it will reach a broader audience.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Yankees at Midseason

There has been a lot of pessimism about the Yankees' prospects this year. At the all star break, we were stuck in third place in our division, behind Boston and Baltimore, and our record is not much better than .500. Several Yankee observers cite the team's age, defense, pitching, and farm system as causes for concern.

I am more sanguine. Though streaky, the Yankees' chances for a World Series title are better than they've been in a couple of years. Five things are coming together for us that few seem to appreciate:

1. Derek Jeter has turned into the legitimate leadoff hitter that we've been missing for a while.
2. The team's on-base percentage leads the majors, and we've drawn 146 more walks than we've given out. With Stottlemyre and Mattingly's help, the Yankees work the count better than any other team.
3. The Yankees have gotten significant contributions from rookies (Cano, Wang, and now Cabrera) for the first time in a number of years.
4. Though only three deep, the bullpen has stabilized. Rivera remains a top shelf closer.
5. With Womack, Jeter, and Rodriguez, the Yankees can now balance power with speed.

Yes, our outfield defense has been frightful at times, and our starting pitching brittle. But we have Al Leiter again - a decent bandaid - and we'll have seven starters by late August when everyone is healthy. Is there anyone else who wouldn't mind seeing eminently available Corey Patterson in a Yankees uniform come August?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

This Past Week

Here's some stuff that I did this past week:

1. War of the Worlds: We saw Spielberg's take on the classic L. Ron Hubbard story at the drive-in. It was only so-so. Tom Cruise's ivory toothed charisma wasn't a good fit for his character, a working class schlub, and the special effects were unmasked and disjointed. On the other hand, everyone who is going to see War of the Worlds should see it at a drive-in theater. Spielberg holds close to Cruise's character's point of view, so that the audience only knows as much as Cruise does. It was unnerving. I half expected tripods to take over Gibson City.
2. Kieran's Wedding: Kieran rocks. The wedding was generally low-key and whimsical. I was seated at a table of mathletes and felt at home. It was good fun.
3. Champaign County Freedom Celebration: The local fireworks were surprisingly good. Apparently they send out mailers to everyone soliciting $15 donations, so the budget was larger than you might expect for an area Champaign's size. We staked out an area just past the fallout zone and huddled under a blanket to wait out a rainstorm before the show. It was worth it. Because we weren't in the official viewing area we managed to avoid the patriotic soundtrack that accompanied the fireworks.