Author Archives: paorhetoric

Dirty Blondes

The house was somewhat of a crime scene although, I guess no ‘laws’ had been broken.

Am I wrong for having these thoughts?  I know they’re Barbies and I know they are kid’s toys; but, man- take it at face value and it just doesn’t seem right.

When I finally came clean and told my wife that I was having these thoughts, her only response was, “yeah, I get a little worried about the one who falls over into the grill.”

Barbie, what has happened to you?  Is it drugs? Alcohol?  Simple depression?

I know it probably sounded like a good idea but save the exercise bike for the morning and my God, where were her friends to take her to bed after she passed out?

OK, What the fuck is going on here?  Miniature Ken, what the fuck man, get yourself together.  Does my daughter need to be seen by a professional?

Yuck, whose clothes are those?  Do you even know?

Oh God, please be careful by the stairs.  Wait, miniature Mom Barbie who drives the minivan in the dog house? Really?

No Comment.

Dude!  Get the fuck up and get out of there.  It probably seemed like a good idea last night, but seriously dude, get up and go home.

I know this was a weird post and honestly I don’t sit around and examine the Barbie half-way house all the time but sometimes it catches my eye.  When 7 or 8 exquisitely dressed Barbies are strewn about face down, half dressed or in various form in the bathroom, all seemingly conscious and smiling, a guy puts a story to it and a little pride in most men swells when GI Joe has clearly been a part of it.

Discipline versus Regret

I saw a plain, black and white sticker on the back of a pickup truck.  It read, “Discipline vs. Regret.”

That’s pretty much what it all comes down to doesn’t it?

Diet, splurge.  Exercise, sit. Save, spend.  Work, procrastinate. Relax, stress.

Its simple.  Either you are discplined or you will (should) regret it later.  This decision usually occurs in the little space in time between stimulus and response.  Think about that space and consciously make your choice.

Good luck.


In flight movie

A few thoughts and observations while traveling:

Running is personal, beer is not: the dudes next to me were both fairly successful business types. They talked and talked about everything from families to football. They were both runners and both planned to run sometime today. They exchanged cards and agreed to get a beer later on. Running is a personal experience that few like to share with strangers, beer on the other hand can be done with just about anyone willing.

My prejudice: I found it hard to make small talk with my seat mates after they failed to turn off their cell phones at the appropriate time. Either they are a space cadets or they think the rules don’t apply. Either way, I’m not interested in knowing where they’re from.

Another prejudice: I feel bad about feeling this way, but if you have an advanced smart phone or a tablet and it’s not an IPhone or an IPad, you failed.

Terrorists: It seems they’ve won in some ways. Usama is probably laughing his ass off in hell as he watches us take off our shoes and belts. What about that new scanner where one has to submiss with one’s hand over their head? Embarrassing that we’ve recoiled to this.

Sky mall: Products marketed to the cat lady and people who wish they had time to watch infomercials.

Flight attendants: Very few male flight attendants seem gay. A lot of female flight attendants seem angry though.

Technology helps: I wrote this post on my phone.

Public Relations?

PR guys are supposed to assist in maintaining or improving the image or reputation of an organization.  By defining this as our role I separate us from marketing guys.  Sure, we need to work together with marketing people but when there’s a problem, PR guys are the only ones that can help…or hurt.

Here is a small but humorous example of things gone bad:

A unit of soldiers lost some equipment.  A typical response is to keep together everyone possibly responsible for the loss until an initial investigation is complete and/or the equipment is found.  Sometimes a soldier will confess and locate the lost items, most of the time the clerical error is caught or the equipment is located somewhere other than where it was thought to be.  An inconvenience to everyone involved for sure, but to be good stewards of tax payer money its important to have good accountability of equipment.

In this case the soldiers have been “locked down” for several days and the media became interested.

Here is how this PR guy handled it:

“The Army takes property accountability very seriously,” Ophardt said, adding there was “no end in sight” to restrictions for the soldiers while the equipment is missing.


Ophardt said base confinement is an extreme measure of punishment meant to elicit information.

AN EXTREME MEASURE OF PUNISHMENT! Meant to elicit information? Yikes.

The missing equipment is not dangerous to the public by itself, since the accessories attach to military-grade weapons and take specialized training to operate, Ophardt said.

“You can’t just attach it and go out and become Rambo,” he said.


No big deal, it happens all the time and I’m sure the soldiers were released soon after this article hit the news.

The full article can be found here:

Just because I feel bad focusing solely on our friend Ophardt, here is a link to an article about the way Penn State screwed up their disaster.

Dolphins: Spies like us

In this interview, Tim Bowman of NPR talked about the situation in the Strait of Hormuz.  Adm. Keating commented (without prompting) on the use of dolphins.  These comments sparked a great deal additional interest in the subject.

Even as a guy that believes in the public’s right to know, I think talking about this with NPR only decreases the effectiveness of our dolphin comrades.  I know its not a secret, but now the subject has been discussed a great deal prompting additional research and queries.

I’m sure the Iranians knew before but now its as easy as picking up the morning paper.

Operational security aside, can the Iranians now just smoke these dolphins at will?  Will our political leaders deem this an act of aggression?

The media changes things.  Last week, if an Iranian killed a U.S. employed dolphin no one would probably bat an eye, but now that its in the press and people care about our fishy friends, if a mean Iranian kills a dolphin our politicians are forced to answer.


Dirty Work

I change the oil in my Jeep. You should change your car’s oil. There are a bunch of reasons to do it but mostly it feels good inside.

I’m no handy man, so stay with me here. You can do this too.

There is something about working on a car. Sure, it’s easy and fast to pay for basic maintenance but there is nothing rewarding about leaving Jiffy Lube after the barely trained tech has explained the hundreds of dollars of items you should have taken but opted not to. He’s only “recommending” that stuff because the computer told him to. I guess they vacuum your floors right?

You’re just going to have to trust me on the intrinsic value of breaking a warm oil plug on a cold winter’s day; I can’t find the words to explain it.

These are some real factors:

Its easy: Check it out on youtube. Its easier than changing a diaper. Almost all cars are the same and it requires hardly any tools. Perhaps you are scared, don’t be Luke, let the internet show you the way.

It’s family time: It’s damn good for the wife and kids to see you doing something manly besides stare at the TV screen. The kids also get to see a machine, they see that more goes into a car than a DVD player and whatever mom does up front. Kids need to see that machines make things work.

Its a gateway drug: Changing your oil won’t save you money. You break about even once you invest the initial $20 or so for tools. Once you change your oil a few times, your confidence will rise leading you to other equally easy jobs. This weekend I changed my brake pads and rotors, I saved about $200 (compared to any shop) and it cost me about 2 hours. Last month I changed my differential fluids and transfer case, another $200 savings.

Easy Talking Point: Car maintenance makes great conversation. A lot of guys are curious but afraid to ask. Be their guide at the water cooler. Show them that they can since you did.

Peace: The time spent working on jobs like this is stress free and relaxing. I hang out under my Jeep with some music in the background while I sort through the world’s toughest issues. This is my day at the spa.

Try it. Don’t be afraid. Just do it once. The satsifaction you’ll get when you start it back up then examine the dip stick is immeasurable (that’s what she said).

2 hours and barely any know how made my weekend a great one.

Environmental Hazards

A lesson in management by Dr Drew:

This morning I forgot my headphones. I usually zone out to Pandora Radio, Rage Against the Machine mix turned just loud enough to drown out the sounds around me, not this morning.
For some reason at 5 a.m. the gym sound system was rocking some Bob and Sheri, the TVs that surround the place are set to Dr Drew, CNN, a local televangalistic infomercial and sports. Dr Drew is the only one we can hear.

This morning on Dr Drew we enjoyed a segment about a woman who paid $50K to have her dog cloned. What the fuck has happened to us? Why is this on TV at the gym? Why is this on TV anywhere. Friends, its not a in-depth documentary on cloning, stem cell research and the like. No. Its about ‘Double Trouble’ the dog who has been cloned for a common man’s year’s salary. The woman sits on the floor of the studio while the dog curls up comfortably in a director’s chair.

Bob and Sheri have asked our nation’s population to call in and explain the stupidest things they’ve done. Callers, please note that whatever you say on this nationally syndicated radio show will be second (on the stupid scale) to the fact that you called Bob and Sheri to tell them about it. Between exercises I learned what happens to a woman’s face when a bottle rocket is shot from her mouth.

The lesson: The reason this shit was on at the gym was due to a few things.
1. No manager that has ever exercised has ever been to that gym during these peak hours. Leaders have to be places. What goes unchecked, goes undone.
2. Perhaps no one is in charge of changing the channels on the TV, it’s someone else’s responsibility (or no one’s). Every responsibility has to have a name attached to it. Perhaps the efforts will be shared but the responsibility lies with a real person. Bill, you’re in charge of the lights and the TV.
3. Customers have no easy feedback mechanism. You want your place to be better? Listen to your customers. You want your customers to tell you about your place? Ask them and make it so easy for them to tell you it makes them uncomfortable. The right message is delivered just by asking.

So, tell me how great this post it. I really, really want to know. Its easy, just click on the ‘comment’ button and fire away, send me an email if you prefer, no matter what I want your feedback. Bill, make sure you are paying attention to the TV, Ill be checking in on you tomorrow.