Category Archives: Communication

Writing in Parentheticals – A Feminine Practice

There is little excuse for a man to use parenthetical faces in his correspondence.  Men should simply use words to convey intent and meaning, leaving the faces for the ladies or kids who don’t know better.

If you can’t say it with words, just don’t say it; hide your feelings- you’re better off that way than to use a pair of punctuation marks to make cute faces or figures.

I understand that humans have been using codes to communicate for ages, blah, blah blah.  Let me assure you, emoticons are not the direction we want to go.

I wish, for the purpose of convincing my audience, that I had a more concrete argument but I don’t.  Bottom line:  It’s really lame.

I am glad that emoticon use has seemed to drop.  This is all the more reason to give it up entirely, it’s no longer cool, it’s perfectly lame, or if not lame, feminine at best.

To read more on this strikingly sorry way to convey ideas, see the wiki site:

Marketing I-95; A mystery to me

I will drive 3 hours in each direction on I-95 every weekend this summer. During the long drive on Sunday night I wonder:

Do billboards work: Pedro seems to be the man, so does JR. I want to visit these places because, according to the billboards, they are really cool. I probably never will.

Another thing on billboards: PR people at local municipalities use them, sometimes a lot. Is it an effective use of money to say to the weary travelers that your town has a lot of hotels? What about the museum? I guess it might work. I’m pretty sure the full size billboard requesting that I don’t litter doesn’t work. In fact, I’m sure it doesn’t.

There is something I don’t know about gas: The gas price differs by $0.20 per gallon from one exit to the next. Why the huge difference? Better yet, if you are the high cost gas station, why advertise? Was that Bill, the clerks, error?

The green lady: Having Starbucks at your exit must bring a ton of traffic. If I were a gas station or fast food place owner, I would lobby for, maybe even subsidize the building of a Starbucks.

Exit Pride: Some exits have their own website. Some are dirty and not inviting. Perhaps local owners should get together and adopt the highway or something. Perhaps they live in India; who knows.

Then again, who knows what factors draw business? Sounds like a good graduate research project.

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.


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