Archive for the ‘Off Topic’ Category

Exercise Survey For Class Project – $50 Raffle (UPDATED)

UPDATE – This has completed. We wish a big “Thank You” to everyone who participated, and a big “Congratulations” to the winners. The data collected was very helpful for my wife and her project.

Please help my wife with some research for a class project! Read the email from her below. Thanks!

Hello everyone,

For one of my classes, I am gathering information on exercise habits of families with children for a class project. By qualifying to complete and completing a brief 10-15 minute survey you will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win one of five $50 Gift Certificates.

Your information will only be used by the five students working on the class project; your information will not be sold or used for any purposes outside this research. Please contact us at with any questions.

Visit to begin.

To view the rules and regulations regarding the drawing, please visit the following page: DrawingRules

Please pass this along to others who have families who might be interested in participating as well.

Thank you for your help!



What do “Vampire Electronics” and “Dropout Factories” have in common?

“Vampire Electronics” are those MP3 and cell phone chargers around your house that slowly consume electricity. “Dropout Factories” are the 1 in 10 U.S. high schools where less than 60% of the student population graduates. Over the last few days I’ve seen tons of news headlines regarding both of these items, and the headlines for each always include their specific catch phrase.

Imagine you are an unfortunate employee working for a government agency or public interest group and you are given the job of getting out an unspectacular and obvious message like “Fast food is fattening”, “Not wearing a seat beat is dangerous”, “Schools are failing to educate underprivileged kids”, or “Chargers use electricity”. None of these things are new and everyone should already knows these things. These messages are not sexy and not eye-catching. How would you frame any of these messages to make them interesting? How would you get these messages picked up by news outlets?

Here is what to do. Brand your idea with an evocative association to another concept, in this case, a vampire or a factory, and formulate a catch-phrase. This elevates your dull message into a simple, unexpected, concrete, emotional story. I am certain that all the head-lining “Dropout Factory” stories would have be buried in the newspaper if it was not for the catchy headline. Likewise, I am certain the “Vampire Electronic” stories wouldn’t even make the paper without this curiosity-provoking and Halloween-friendly phrase.

Think about this the next time you have a message to get out. How can you distill your message down an evocative core that communicates it’s essence and helps it get picked up and delivered?

How to Make a Bat-Dog Halloween Costume

.Bat Dog.

Step 1

Make sure you dog has giant bat-ears. If not, figure out how to make some, or you’re out of luck.

Step 2

Remove the shaft from a broken umbrella. (My umbrella broke on Friday on my way home from work. Perfect timing!)

Step 3

Remove three of the eight sections of the umbrella. Save the extra fabric. It can be used to hide the innards or for accessories.

Step 4

Add a bat logo without violating anyone’s copyright (or without getting caught).

Step 5

Attach the umbrella to your dog’s harness with a mix of string, rubber bands, and safety pins.

Step 6

Use your dog’s cuteness to help you get lots of chocolate that your dog can never eat. Oh the delicious irony!