Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking Forward To 2008: If You Give Up Your Dreams, You Die!

Everybody’s got a dream and I've always lived by the motto: If You Give Up Your Dreams, You Die! On New Year’s Eve, a time of renewal, dreams sometimes become resolutions. It's sad that most resolutions get broken but that's the way it goes. I hope that the holiday season of 2007 brought you great pleasures and grand memories and that you can look back with a sense of accomplishment and I hope you’re looking forward to 2008 with optimism that the future will be even better.

Every year as the clock nears midnight on December 31st, the eyes of the world turn once more to the dazzling lights and bustling energy of Times Square. Anticipation runs high. New Year's Eve at the symbolic center of New York City has become more than just a celebration - it's a global tradition. The world holds its breath...and cheers as the clocks strike twelve. As the famous New Year's Eve Ball descends from the flagpole atop One Times Square, an estimated one million people in Times Square, millions nationwide and over a billion watching throughout the world are united in bidding a collective farewell to the departing year, and expressing our joy and hope for the year ahead. The wishes of people from around the world will literally rain down on revelers in Times Square at this New Year's Eve celebration when the confetti is dropped. For the first time in history, anyone can write their wishes for the New Year on the multicolored confetti by visiting the Times Square Information Center or by typing a message on a "virtual wishing wall" online. Your message-carrying pieces will then be mixed in with the rest of the one ton of confetti that is dropped in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

Messages can be serious or silly, said Tim Tompkins, a spokesman for the Times Square Alliance, which organizes the party. So far, messages have included everything from wanting to be taller or having a smarter boss to asking for the safe return of a child from Iraq, he said. If you’re unable to make it to Times Square in time to add your wishes to the wall, never fear – the Alliance has created a virtual wishing wall on their website. Become a part of history...submit your New Year's Eve wishes here. Selected New Year's Eve messages they receive from around the world will appear here.

Usually at the end of any year, people in the papers and on blogs publish their top ten lists of whatever crap that doesn't interest most people anyway. Like the fact that Britney Spears was the most Googles name in 2007. Wow, does that surprise you? So, one of my friends and loyal Discover Insanity supporters, sent me this funny top ten list which I thought may give you a laugh or two, or three...

Top Ten Thoughts For 2007

Number 10. Life is sexually transmitted.

Number 9. Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

Number 8. Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.

Number 7 . Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

Number 6. Some people are like a Slinky ... Not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

Number 5. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

Number 4. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Number 3. Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200.00 and a substantial tax cut saves you $0.30?

Number 2 . In the '60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

Number 1: We know exactly where one cow with Mad-cow-disease is located among the millions and millions of cows in America , but we haven't got a clue as to where thousands of illegal immigrants and terrorists are located. Maybe we should put the Department of Agriculture in charge of immigration.

This is my last blog for 2007. For the rest of you who may have positive or mixed feelings about 2007, the essential message is the same. Take the wheel of your own ship, pick the destinations you want to reach, and get on your way. Stay focused on your goals but be flexible enough to adjust to unanticipated winds and unusually attractive alternatives. Some of you did not have a very good year. Bad stuff happens. Some of the bad things you experienced may have just happened to you, leaving you only with the power to make the best of it and move on. One of my favorite quotes from Michael Josephson is “pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” As we conclude 2007, I send you my best and most earnest wishes for the strength and sense to move forward and that this new year will be filled with endless unknown opportunities to truly Discover Insanity!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Depletion Of Our Moral Ozone: It Just Ain't Right!

Okay folks. Have we gone to far and dropped off the cliff of normalcy or what? The cute cuddly white cat from Japan's Sanrio Co., usually seen on toys and jewelry for girls and young women, will soon don T-shirts, bags, watches and other products targeting young men...that's right, Men! The usual bubble-headed shape of Hello Kitty was slightly changed for a more rugged, cool look to appeal to men in their teens and early 20s.

"We think Hello Kitty is accepted by young men as a design statement in fashion," according to company officials. The mouthless feline for-men products will go on sale in Japan next month, and will be sold soon in the U.S. and other Asian nations. Hello Kitty is one of mascot-obsessed Japan's biggest "character" hits, decorating everything from a humble eraser to a $48,000 diamond necklace.

The planned products mark the first time Sanrio is developing Hello Kitty items especially for males and in a shocking discovery, Sanrio had tried a "limited edition" collaboration in men's clothing and it proved popular. "Young men these days grew up with character goods," said Tohmatsu. "That generation feels no embarrassment about wearing Hello Kitty." Yeah, right! What's next? A Hello Kitty NFL franchise?

Speaking of dropping into the moral ozone, in Garland, Texas, a 6-year-old girl who won four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert with an essay that falsely claimed her father died in Iraq won't be going to the show after all. The contest's sponsor, Club Libby Lu, withdrew the prize on Saturday and awarded it to another unnamed winner. "With this decision, we hope to revive the intended spirit of the contest, which was designed to make a little girl's holidays extra special," Club Libby Lu chief executive Mary Drolet said in a statement Saturday.

The girl won a makeover that included a blonde Hannah Montana wig, as well as the grand prize: airfare for four to Albany, N.Y., and four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert on Jan. 9. Her essay read like this..."My daddy died this year in Iraq. I am going to give mommy the Angel pendant that daddy put on mommy when she was having me. I had it in my jewelry box since that day. I love my mommy." But the girl's mother admitted later Friday that the essay and the military information she provided about her daughter's father were untrue.

In an attempt to justify the "little white lie", the mother, Priscilla Ceballos, told CBS station KTVT-TV in Dallas's Kimberly Ball "I did an essay and that's what was told, It never said it had to be a true story." Ceballos had told Club Libby Lu officials that the girl's father died April 17 in a roadside bombing in Iraq, but the Department of Defense has no record of anyone with that name dying in Iraq. Good job raising that child, Mom!

So what did we discover today? That boys should be girls? That we shouldn't draw gender lines? Lying is OK as long as it's for Hanna Montana tickets? I would never have believed a 6 year old wrote that anyway. She is going to learn two hard and cold lessons: Her mother is a liar. Liars don't get prizes for lying. Of course, that's ust my opinion I could be wrong! I just hope and pray I'm not!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

These Presents Probably Weren't Under Your Christmas Tree!

Christmas is over and while you may have gotten many of the presents you wished for from Santa this year, maybe you didn't. I came across a couple of "unique" gifts which may not have been under your tree! While most common thieves and thugs know what a taser looks like, they probably won't think too much of this device at first sight. Now ladies can replace that monthly period with an exclamation mark as feminine hygiene goes lethal with The Pink Stinger, a stun gun creatively disguised as a tampon...except for the buttons, prods and high voltage. This weapon of mass absorption aims to target a niche market consumer, that being the tampon wielding women who desire private and discreet security in a friendly familiar package.

It looks like a tampon. This device is actually a taser in disguise, coming in a lady-friendly pink package that delivers a shocking reception to the unfortunate perpetrator-turned-victim. Packing 50,000 volts of power, the Pink Stinger also doubles up as an advanced gun that shoots a couple of probes up to 14 feet away, delivering a knockout blow to whoever is on the receiving end. Just make sure nobody around the home uses this for any other purpose other than self-defense as the results of misuse could result in serious, permanent injuries.

Because it is an advanced stun gun, you do have the option of stun capabilities with a simple click of a switch. In the Stun setting, you need only make contact with intended target via the 2 prods for an effective toxic shock rendering the victim disoriented, demoralized and embarrassed . When shooting in Zap mode, 2 extra absorbent cotton tampons with barbed probes and 14 ft. of wire are expelled and propelled by compressed nitrogen. Electric current then passes to the body, where the probes have attach to the clothing or bare skin, causing central nervous system disruption, possible urination and certain humiliation. Optimal target range for the stun gun is 7-10 feet with a maximum of 14 feet. Absorbency range of tampon is 6-9 grams. Why we'd need to know this, I could not figure out! The included batteries and compressed nitrogen cartridge store neatly in the pink zapplicator casing for easy replacement.

American Inventor Spot has too much of two things—time on their hands and vaginas on their mind. How else can you explain this tampon personal security taser. It's pink, fluffy, wired, and can shock you with 50,000 volts. Oh, and it's shaped like a tampon. Fantastic, eh? Just be careful not to mix this up with a real tampon, ladies. This is not a proper way to deal with unwanted pregnancies.

Okay, since no man in his right mind is going to walk around carrying a tampon-shaped stun gun? No guy I know...hopefully. So, here's one for some of the guys who've got almost every computer gadget on the market. This is a gift for that perpetually single guy in your life who just can't keep a girlfriend for long. He's not a bad guy at all, probably the perpetual life of the party, and never says no to "guys night out." Preferably if that night out involves Vegas. Or a strip club. Or both. The catch? The guy also has to be kind of nerdy. Nerdy enough to know, and appreciate, what it would mean to have his very own gyrating, pole-dancing girl who plugs into a USB port on his computer! Simply plug her into your computer and watch her gyrate, wiggle and spin around to the sounds of your funky tunes. With flashing lights and her own demo track, this is practically the real thing. You can invite your friends to the show or, for the really brave men out there, try to convince your girlfriend to pick up a few tricks of the trade. If this works for someone you know, you can even order the USB Pole Dancer Online...discreetly!

There you go. The gifts I'm sure many of you didn't get or give this Christmas. I think I've sufficiently helped you out with all of your holiday shopping needs for next year. And like the iPhone, I'm sure they'll be some technical improvements. Hopefully nobody gets me any of these for next year. I'd have some serious 'splainin to do!

Friday, December 28, 2007

It's Just A Red Kettle But It Inspires People For The Greater Good!

Every year, right after we gorge ourselves on Turkey and all the fixin's at Thanksgiving, the red kettles in front of malls and supermarkets are a sign the Christmas season has begun. Bells are used to attract the attention of people going in and out of the stores and at the Farmer's Market here in LA, there is a fully dressed Salvation Army worker singing Christmas Carols. This tradition has been going on for decades and the Salvation Army has helped thousands if not millions of needy families each year. It's hard to walk by one of these kettles without dropping at least something in. And in some places around the country, that's just what people did!

In Morgantown, West Virginia Salvation Army Major Richard Hathorn knew when and where it would happen, but he still doesn't know who slipped the $1,000 bill into one of the charity's Christmas kettles. Each Christmas since 1978, someone has covertly stuffed one of the big bills into a kettle in this northern West Virginia university city. This year, Hathorn says, the donor alerted the Salvation Army that the tradition would continue with a deposit between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Wal-Mart at University Town Center. During the appointed period, Hathorn carefully scanned the faces of people dropping money into the kettle, but he didn't spot anyone with a bill bearing the likeness of President Grover Cleveland. He found it later, wrapped inside a $1 bill. How's that for charity?

In Exton, Pennsylvania, an Army veteran who remembered getting free coffee and doughnuts from the Salvation Army decades ago gave a $10,000 check to a dumbfounded bell-ringer. "The $10,000 is to help pay for my coffee and donuts," he said in a handwritten note signed, "P.F.C." "Seems fair to me after 40+ years, with inflation and everything." The man gave the check to a volunteer outside a department store at the Exton Mall on Friday, said Capt. Gerald Morgan, a spokesman for the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. The man remembered being given coffee and doughnuts while serving in World War II and wanted to return the kindness, Morgan said. His name was on the check and he has given large amounts in the past, but he asked the Salvation Army not to identify him.

Near Detroit, a gold bar wrapped tightly with bills, like a pig in a blanket, stood out starkly against the spare change inside a Salvation Army red kettle outside a Wal-Mart. The 1-ounce gold bar, wrapped with a $100 bill and then covered with a single dollar bill, was slipped unnoticed into a kettle Monday night at the Wal-Mart while trained dogs were collecting bills and coins from shoppers. "He, or she, probably slipped in the money while everyone else focused on the dogs," said Joanna Rose, who is co-captain of the Salvation Army's Livingston County unit along with her husband, Derek. Though they don't know who is behind the generosity, they are fairly certain it is the same person because of the stranger's signature move—covering a $100 bill wrapped over a gold bar with a $1 bill, Rose said. Based on current world prices for a one-ounce Troy bar of gold, the mystery donor's gift is worth about $800. It was the third year in a row a mysterious donor has put a gold bar in one of the kettles, she said.

Those kettles, no matter how annoying those bells and kettles might be, have inspired people each and every year. And although it only happens during the Christmas season, it's nice to see people giving to charities such as this and just presenting a spirit of joy and happiness to their fellow man. It makes me wonder why we can't be like this all year 'round! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly. Hollywood Continues To Lose Some Class!

In life, things come and things go. And in another sad day here in LA broadcasting, longtime Los Angeles sportscaster Stu Nahan, who was introduced to a worldwide audience with his role as a boxing announcer in all six "Rocky" films, died yesterday at age 81 after a long battle with lymphoma. He began his career as a sportscaster at KCRA-TV Channel 3 in Sacramento, then moved to Philadelphia, where he announced Philadelphia Flyers hockey games on WKBS-TV Channel 48 as Captain Philadelphia and came to Los Angeles in 1968 as a sportscaster on KABC-TV Channel 7, KNBC-TV Channel 4 and KTLA-TV Channel 5 until he left in 1999.

A milestone in Nahan's career came in 1976 when he was cast to appear in a low-budget film about a boxer who unexpectedly gets to challenge boxing's heavyweight champion. Nahan was introduced to a worldwide audience with his role as a boxing announcer in all six "Rocky" films, "Rocky" would receive the best picture Oscar and spawn five sequels, all of which Nahan appeared in. Nahan also appeared in the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," interviewing surfer Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) in a dream sequence, who tells Nahan, who was wearing a colorful jacket, "Hey dude, nice jacket."

The cameo appearance had an impact on a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame, Nahan told City News Service in May, shortly before he received the 2,339th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "Every time I've seen Tony Gwynn the past 20 years he doesn't say, `Hi Stu,' he says, `Hey dude, nice jacket,"' Nahan said. Nahan's Walk of Fame ceremony had been delayed because of his cancer treatment, but he said in May he was doing well. But it wasn't to be. Yesterday, another LA legend passed on.

Speaking of coming and going. it seems that all the coin that Paris Hilton thought she was going to get from her Hilton inheritance could be gone, gone, gone – and it's all her grandfather's fault. Barron Hilton announced yesterday that he would be giving 97 percent of his $2.3 billion fortune to charity, specifically to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, putting Paris' reported $30 million windfall in some doubt. There will still be about $130 million left, presumably for the family. (Poor Paris, hunh?) Grandpa Barron has been quoted as being "embarrassed" by Paris' behavior and even supposedly threatened to yank her inheritance entirely a few years back. Easy come, easy go!

And finally, it's time this girl has got to go. What's up with Britney Spears latest night of lunacy? It all started off when the popwreck hopped out of her car and stood in the middle of the street to get a photo of a roadside mural -- only to be thwarted by some inconsiderate paparazzo -- sending Spears into a camera smashing tirade! Unlucky for Brit, the camera she smashed was her own, and she had to return to the scene of the freak out to find her camera's memory card. A pap finally found it for her -- and then things got crazy! Brit then hopped into a photog's ride and took off to Woodland Hills -- reportedly hitting speeds of 120 MPH! After that, she strapped on her best pink wig and tight dress, and she and the photog went into the Peninsula Hotel -- where he later emerged at 4:00 AM craving a cigarette! Hmmm. By the way, what's with the unclean, Ratafarian hair? Okay girl, you're 15 minutes over your 15 minutes of fame. Buh-bye!

What an insane day. We lost a legend, lost a billion, and are watching a pop diva lose it, period. It's all sad but that's the way Hollywood is. And it blows me away that people idolize the like of Hilton and Spears. What have they done to enhance the greater good? Stu on the other hand, did what he did best. And had fun at the same time. They say that celebrities always pass on in "threes." Hopefully, we've seen two careers pass on right before our eyes!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Christmas Tumbleweed: The Unlikely Eyesore That Became An Eyecatcher And A True Example Of Christmas Spirit!

In Yorba Linda, just outside of LA, where the city starts looking like country, a giant tumbleweed is moored on a rocky embankment in a vacant lot. Neighbors differed on whether it's been there for a few months or a few years -- so accustomed are they to seeing it -- but they agreed on one thing: It was an eyesore. Until, that is, a few weeks ago when two 17-year-old girls drove by it for the umpteenth time and decided to spread some Christmas cheer. What better way, they thought, than to spruce up the unsightly thing. The two high school seniors tapped into the Christmas spirit by decorating an ugly, huge tumbleweed. They also touched the neighborhood.

"We were driving by after school, and we just thought it looked so ugly," Kaitlyn Hillquist says. "We thought, let's decorate it." So Kaitlyn and Holli Powers went to a 99¢ store and bought a few red bulbs and a garland. They figured they'd add some baubles in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and that would be their good deed. They've done much more than they imagined. It may be too sappy to say that a singular act of holiday spirit has touched a neighborhood.

The proof is that the tumbleweed monster -- measuring about 10 feet high at its peak and some 40 to 50 feet around -- is decked out in full-frontal Christmas regalia. As neighbors saw the results of the girls' original effort, they stopped by the corner and added their own touches: a star, a Santa hat, some more bulbs, some more garlands, some flocking, a "Merry Christmas" banner. "We're thankful," Holli adds. "That people wanted to get involved. Especially at Christmastime, when everybody is so busy and caught up in the hustle and bustle. We're proud," Holli says, with a grin. "It's our baby."

Sometimes, if someone were adding a decoration, a driver would go by and honk and wave. A woman in a nearby cul-de-sac says everyone in the circle donated something. No one was more surprised than the girls at what they started. "We definitely thought it would just be me and Holli who decorated it," Kaitlyn says. Lest you think this is just a "girl thing," meet Ron Guidry, 72. "Once I saw what they'd started," he says, "I felt it was my turn to jump in. I thought it was a neat idea, whoever started it, and it looked like it was being added to daily, so why not put my two bits in, too?"

Karen Lawyer, a 13-year-old Yorba Linda Middle School student, says, "Every day, I add something." She mentioned the angel hadn't been there the day before, and she said her mom and dad helped her make it Sunday night, by sewing a dress on a doll and fashioning its plastic wings. Molly Arii, a three year old with incredible Christmas Spirit said, "Look, they're decorating a Christmas tree.' I said, 'That's not a Christmas tree, it's a Christmas tumbleweed."

You know what? These two girls' simple act as symbolic of something larger: They could have done nothing, but instead chose to do something. That something turned out to make many people happy and feel connected to a neighborhood and that unified people. Not unified in a grand sense, but in a way that made them feel good, all trying to turn ugliness into something if not beautiful, at least not so ugly. So you see...It's the little things that really matter!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas! Cheer Up - For Your Sake And Ours!

When people hear the word December, they think of Christmas, or Hanukkah. On December 25th, not only are we to celebrate Christmas, but we are also scheduled to celebrate National Pumpkin Pie Day! Oh yum! (Not really). Indeed, the holiday season, undeniably dominated by the trappings and traditions of Christmas, is not only a time for solemn worship but a period of high festivity, grand enthusiasm, and good cheer.

“‘Tis the season to be jolly.” Despite the freakin' relentless commercialism conveying a sense of artificiality, I still find that the music, decorations, holiday cards, and gifts associated with Christmas makes me a huge fan of cheerfulness. Even the forced and phony joyfulness of “Ho, Ho, Ho” department store Santas can generate authentic delight. There’s no doubt about it, good nature is a powerful force that makes people, including the person exuding it, feel better. I love to be around merry people and during these times, I'm at my jolliest!

I think cheerfulness is a born trait and gleeful people are simply hardwired to look on the bright side. I’ve come to realize, however, that happiness is more often a choice than a trait. Many people are self-consciously good-spirited as a life strategy to make themselves and those they interact with happier. It’s a matter of character to repress or overcome personal grievances, sorrows, and setbacks and willfully project positive attitudes. A cheerful person and a somber one look at the same things, but they see them differently. They also look for other things. Someone once made the distinction between a person who is happy because he has no cares at all and a cheerful person who has cares but doesn’t let them get him down. And that's me!

And you know, another mistake people make because they are rushing to get everything done is that they forget to spend time with their family. Remember, it's not the gifts or meals that are important. Christmas is a time to send with your family and remember why you're celebrating in the first place. For some reason, Christmas music always cheers me up and puts me into the holiday spirit. Maybe it's because they remind me of Christmas's of my childhood and the fact that LA's KOST-103 plays Christmas music for 30 days. Or maybe it's because they have some kind of magical mood boosters to them. Whatever it may be, I just know that when I sing a good Christmas tune will always put a smile on my face or get some sort of reaction. Getting downright goofy as you sing along to Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland will definitely get rid of your holiday blues.

And while we're celebrating, did you know that there are a few more holidays that we've yet to celebrate? Oh man, I hate whiners...and now they go and give them a holiday!? Yep, tomorrow is National Whiners Day. The 27th is National Fruitcake Day. I cannot stand fruitcake, but for those who can't get you can. On the 28th gather some friends up for National Card Day...make sure you serve plenty of chocolate too, because it is also National Chocolate Day. December 29th is Pepper Pot Day. Is that a name of a drug!? No actually it is a soup recipe! December 30th is Festival Of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute. I'm not sure what the hell that is, but yeah, why not change something at the last minute today? Perhaps your clothes, after you have already gotten dressed. Lame I know, but what else are we supposed to do... we can change our minds at the last minute, but most of us do that everyday anyway. Last but not least is December 31st, which is Unlucky Day. I guess they expect us to embrace out unlucky selves today. Celebrate your bad luck or something, maybe it will go away? Hah!

I thank the many of you who read Discover Insanity on a daily basis or even from time to time. I have a lot of fun doing it and I hope you get a laugh or feel cheerful at some of my rantings. Cheerfulness is the greatest gift you can give others. I believe that from the bottom of my heart and I wish all of you the traditional "peace, joy and love" that you should have on this special day. So cheer up – for your sake and ours.

And finally, I would like to say a Very Merry Christmas to those soldiers who are serving in our armed forces both here and abroad who are unable to be with their families this Christmas. I wish you all the best...keep safe and Thank You!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Greetings from Queen E-Lizabeth And Others Appearing On You Tube!

On this Christmas Eve, sometimes only the timeless classics can truly express the special meaning of the Holiday Season. Like we said yesterday in Discover Insanity, the internet is providing the vehicle for creative expression in creating Christmas Greeting Cards through sites like Elf Yourself and others. But for those with filmmaker aspiriations, it's You tube. And now Queen Elizabeth is joining the YouTube generation. Yes, that's right, Buckingham Palace on Sunday said the 81-year-old monarch will post her traditional Christmas Day message, normally broadcast on television, on the video-sharing Web site as well this year. At the same time, a new Royal Channel has been unveiled on YouTube, allowing Web surfers to view the queen's first Christmas broadcast in 1957, as well as other archive footage of the royal family and its events.

The queen is said to be avid about using new technology to reach a wider, more diverse audience. Last year her Christmas message was released as a podcast. In her first Christmas broadcast 50 years ago, she waxed lyrical about the advent of television. "I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct," she said. "That it is possible for you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us." Queen Elizabeth's message is followed closely by millions of Britons and others in Commonwealth countries worldwide on Christmas Day each year. Two years ago the Queen confessed, while conferring an honorary knighthood on American Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, that she had not yet used a computer. Since then, however, she has willingly embraced the internet and other major technological advances. She has a mobile phone (actually a Blackberry), and last year was presented with a six gigabyte iPod by Prince William, allegedly another Facebook fan. Buckingham Palace also revealed this week the queen likes to sneak off from the rest of her family on Christmas Day and watch the recorded message alone, judging for herself how she comes across.

Other people are getting into the You Tube craze this Christmas season. Presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama has taken positions on many national political, economic and social issues, either through public comments or his senatorial voting record and now he even has a greeting on the Tube. This young and hip candidate realizes the potential of the media market and will probably get the attention of the Wii generation. And that could translate to a lot of voters! Remember "Rock the Vote?"

And Senator Fred Thompsons campaign put up a video tribute to the soliders who are serving overseas. This isn't really a personal Christmas greeting from the Law and Order man but was released on You Tube with a link back to his website. It's a nice tribute to those young men and women who are out on the front lines defending something that they have no idea of what they are defending. Check it out and take a second to remember those incredible soliders and their efforts this year and in years past.

And celebrity heartthrob and one of the luckiest men alive, Ashton Kutcher put up a video about the Elves and the Writer's Strike. It's a spoof of Santa, Elves, and writers that's pretty funny. In fact, there is a brief cmeo appearance by his wife Demi Moore who I'm sure is proud of her hubby exploits. But who really cares? Ashton got Demi and that's that. Check it out...

And our final You Tube posted video is a classic from Steve Martin. I think this appeared on a recent Saturday Night Live special but it is classic Steve Martin in all of his hilarious humor. This guy has done some many funny things from The Jerk to his whole King tut thing that almost anything he does is classic. Get a good laugh and check out Steve-o in this one.
And our final You Tube posted video is a classic from Steve Martin. I think this appeared on a recent Saturday Night Live special but it is classic Steve Martin in all of his hilarious humor. This guy has done some many funny things from The Jerk to his whole King tut thing that almost anything he does is classic. Get a good laugh and check out Steve-o in this one.

So you see, the You Tube phenomenon has caught on and I'm sure will be around for a long time. Heck, if a stiffy (and I don't mean it that way) like Queen Elizabeth can put a video on You Tube, get e-mail on her Blackberry and rock out to Eric Clapton on her iPod, then we can truly say we are in the internet generation. Wierd though, I couldn't find any You Tube greeting from President Bush. Hmmmmm. Merry Christmas Y'all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Greetings Provide Fun, Laughter And Free Advertising At The Same Time!

I feel bad for our parents. Because not only did they grow up in a world without cell phones, plasma screens and Nintendo Wii, but they also grew up in a world without an internet. So they never got to experience online crushes, stalking people on MySpace or Googling ex-lovers. They never had to say “thanks for the add” or “why did you block me?” They never wrestled over whether to update their profile status to “In A Relationship” and they never emailed their favorite music bloggers to thank them for a great mp3. But perhaps the saddest thing of all… they never experienced the joy of taking a picture, putting it on the head of an elf and then watching it dance around giving laughs to everyone they know. Bummer.

The internet has given us the good and the bad. The fun and the dangerous. And now, instead of the traditional greeting card that takes time to write, put on the address and postage, go to the post office and wait in line to mail, we can do it all in a couple of clicks. And for the past couple of years, the people at Office Max, have been providing a fun way to do it. Their "Elf Yourself" website is essentially a holiday advertising campaign for Office Max.

It doesn't take much to do it. Go to the website, upload a photo, tweak the size and position and hit the 'Preview' button to see it. Then you can e-mail a link to all your friends and spead the joy (and free advertising for Office Max). When these things catch fire, they work. Compare the cost of doing one of these flash based interactions versus the cost of a 30 second TV commercial. And then compare the cost of buying enough media to reach 75 million viewers vs putting up a viral website. Elf Yourself is one of the top 100 Internet properties this month in traffic. That is pretty amazing. It's fun, and it's free.

I went to a party a couple of weeks ago and people were talking about it. I showed them my "Elfed" family flash show (view it here) and then the "viral" part of it went crazy. Everybody wanted to do one and the little kids that were at the party could not stop laughing (and screaming) at all of the different ones we created. Yes, I've seen tons of them this year but the laughter and joy that it brings is what Christmas spirit is all about, On the other hand, if you're one of thise grumpy Scrooge type people, then Office Max's Scrooge Yourself is for you. (Again, click here to view mine.)

But this type of marketing isn't just for the holidays. A website called allows users to combine their picture with custom made Magazine covers in the likeness of popular Magazines. is an affiliate marketing effort that works to distribute and market subscriptions to each of the magazines displayed on MMP while providing a fun and entertaining way for users to display their picture. Within each distribution, the direct link to purchase each magazine is made available, allowing users across the globe to subscribe to these featured magazines with ease as an ever increasing and wider developing network of magazine subscribers builds. How's that for creative marketing???

Expect to see more of this kind of advertising in the future. I'm sure next year there will be hundreds of them. But you know what? That's what the internet is supposed to And heck, if I can put a mile on somebody's face for just a second, then the world can be a bit happier place. And it didn't cost me a penny. Try them out for yourselves and enjoy the holiday's people! Merry Christmas from Discover Insanity!