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Showing posts from December, 2011

British Scholars Schooled on Handshakes

British Scholars Schooled on HandshakesIn the days of old, when knights were bold, and fist bumps weren't invented, they made their stands, and shook their hands, and battles were prevented.

That is, back in the Middle Ages, when two knights met and they weren't in the mood to do battle, each knight would extend an empty right hand — preferably their own — to show the other that they were unarmed and did not intend to start swinging a sword around.

The two men would then grip their empty hands, shake them a few times to hear their armor rattle, and that was that. They would then go about their day, sweating inside a form-fitting metal coffin, unable to go to the bathroom properly.

These days, a handshake is more generic greeting with fewer violent overtones. It conveys warmth and friendliness, and is one of those things we were all taught to do when we were very young.

There are even some basic rules about shaking hands: In a social setting, men should let the woman offer her hand…

Ghostly Mirrors and Juvenile Husbands

I am not what you would call a brave man. Oh sure, I would protect my family from home invaders, axe murderers, and Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on our door on Saturday mornings ("sorry, no, we're Zoroastrians").

But there are two things that if I am faced with, you will find me shrieking like a 6-year-old girl and racing off in the other direction: snakes and ghosts.

I had to face one of these terrors a couple weeks ago, when my wife and I had a chance to stay at the Story Inn in, well, Story, IN.

Story, Indiana is so small, it's more of an intersection than a town. It has a village green, and one restaurant inside the Inn. If you go to the restaurant, you have to park across town, 50 feet away. And there are anywhere from seven to 15 people who live in Story.

Plus, at least one ghost.

The Blue Lady has haunted the Story Inn for as long as anyone can remember. And for the most part, she confines her activities to only one room, appropriately named "The Blu…

Let's Whine Again, Like We Did Last Summer

Let's Whine Again, Like We Did Last SummerErik is out of the office this week, celebrating his anniversary. In light of the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, we are running this column from 2001.


Pity poor Chubby Checker, the creator of "The Twist." He's got his bloomers in a bunch, because he feels that he -- one of rock and roll's most important figures -- is also one of its most underappreciated.

In a full-page, two-color ad in Billboard Magazine, the music industry's weekly trade magazine, Checker likened himself to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Walt Disney, claiming that before him, there was no rock-and-roll dance. As a result, Checker doesn't want the same treatment every other inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gets. He wants a statue of himself, in midtwist, alone in the courtyard.

"I want my flowers while I'm alive. I can't smell them when I'm dead," he said in his ad. &q…

Las Vegas Investigation Press Conference Transcript Regarding Death of Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

An Interview with Randy Bernard and Brian BarnhartIndianapolis Motor Speedway, Dec. 15, 2011

The following is a transcript of today's press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway about the investigation of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway race and the death of Dan Wheldon. I received this from IndyCar as part of their media communications. I am reposting it here without comment.

AMY KONRATH: I'd like to introduce our speakers Randy Bernard, chief executive officer of INDYCAR, and Brian Barnhart, president of operations, INDYCAR. Randy, I'll turn things over to you to begin.

RANDY BERNARD: Thank you. Good morning. This morning we released the results of the Las Vegas investigation. It's only been two months since this tragic event, and it's been a very difficult month for everyone in the racing community, as Dan was loved by all.

INDYCAR has undertaken an investigation that includes the compiling of all data to bette…

School Principal Screwed By Zero Tolerance

School Principal Experiences Zero ToleranceAn elementary school principal got to experience Zero Tolerance first hand, and decided he didn't like it.

Jerry Bostic, was the principal of Brookside Elementary School in Gastonia, North Carolina, until this past Wednesday, when he was told he either had to quit or be fired for wrongly suspending a student.

He chose to retire.

Bostic was the victim of his own form of Zero Tolerance, after he suspended 9-year-old Emanyea Lockett for two days for calling a teacher "cute." Bostic said it was a form of sexual harassment, and suspended the youngster for making "inappropriate statements."

To be fair, the school said Emanyea said "fine" in a suggestive tone, and not "cute," but even so, this is still nothing more than an hyper-dramatic overreaction on their part. You typically don't see finger pointing hysterics like this except from a campaign manager in the final months of the presidential election, …

Corporations Are Sociopaths [INFOGRAPHIC]

Created by: Online MBA Programs

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

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Leonardo da Vinci's Diary

Leonardo da Vinci's DiaryI recently heard a story on National Public Radio about Leonardo da Vinci's "To Do" list, related by historian Toby Lester in his new book, "da Vinci's Ghost," and how the Renaissance Man used to organize his thoughts. Whenever something caught his eye, said Lester, da Vinci would scribble a few notes, or start sketching his ideas in his notebook.

That's because da Vinci believed it was useful to "constantly observe, note, and consider" the things he saw around him. And many of those notes and sketches resulted in his some of the most famous paintings, drawings, ideas, and inventions that we still know and use today.

I've done the same thing for years, although not with the same effect and accomplishment as the industrious Italian. Most of my long-lasting contributions are boob jokes, and not even very good ones at that.

But I also have one thing that Lester doesn't have. And that's an old copy of one of L…