29 April 2007

I Am the Lord Thy God...

...and thou shalt use innovative marketing strategies to increase my market share.

"CedarCreek Church Sucks" is his message displayed on a blood-red background at Talmadge and Monroe streets. Two more billboards are scheduled to go up tomorrow, Good Friday, saying, "I Was Robbed at CedarCreek" and "Boycott CedarCreek."

All three billboards will be "signed" by Satan and include a Web site address, www.SatanHatesCedarCreek.com.

"Some people are more upset with using the word 'sucks' than they are that their friends are dying and going to hell. And that upsets me," the pastor added.

He said the term "sucks" has become a "neutral word that does not have the connotation it used to have."

Mr. Powell worked in marketing at the national headquarters of Sears and Montgomery Ward retail giants before going into the ministry... "For us, marketing is critical," he said...

The Rev. Tom Schaeffer... also considers marketing to be essential... "Marketing is really, really critical," he said...

Brad Abare, a Los Angeles marketing consultant and director of communications for the 5 million-member Foursquare Church International, said churches need to think of marketing as "communication" that connects people with the Gospel message.

People who are offended by seeing Satan's name and the word "sucks" on billboards are not looking at the big picture, [Mr. Powell] said.

Advertising. Marketing. Brand identity. Customer loyalty. Welcome to American Christianity in the 21st century!

Next, they should design a cool logo and hire the Geico ad firm. I'm still gonna hold out for a really good rebate offer, though.

27 April 2007

I Am Not Making This Up

As regular readers know, public service is an important part of this blog. Whether it's news about how to make online restaurant reservations or how to protect your testicles after a vasectomy, the Clark St. Blog is here to make life better for everyone.

For a lot of guys, the mere thought of a vasectomy is painful enough, but there can be a real ache associated with the procedure. That's what led Ron Zittler of Round Lake to want to improve on the package of frozen peas that he used to dull the pain.

Vasowear is a garment specially designed to uniquely address post vasectomy swelling and discomfort. Vasowear is a supportive, fitted brief which includes a unique inner shelf support to support and cradle your scrotum, and a specially shaped pocket to hold an ice pack (included with each Vasowear purchase) securely in place.


26 April 2007

Deborah Pryce Introduces Non-Discrimination Legislation

Ohio's Deborah Pryce (R-OH 15th) is one of four House members to introduce H.R. 2015, ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007. The Act amends current law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Some states have passed legislation prohibiting such discrimination but there is no law at the federal level.

According to the Gay People's Chronicle,

Currently, it is legal to fire, or fail to promote, someone because of their sexual orientation in 33 states, including Ohio, and their gender identity in 42 states, also including Ohio.

ENDA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing federal law prohibiting employment discrimination by race, religion, color and national origin. The bill exempts members of the armed forces, veterans groups and religious organizations.

Joining Pryce are Chris Shays (R-CT), Barney Franks (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

Read the bill text here.

17 April 2007

Brushes With Greatness

Radio Free Newport has a nice post about getting to meet Jackie Robinson and it made me think back to my own brushes with greatness. I came up with two:

One time I was picking up friends at the airport. It was the weekend before the ATP Tennis Championship (now called the Cincinnati Masters Series). As I waited at the baggage claim, Jim Courier came out and stood right next to me. I was caught off guard and had no idea what to say so I said nothing. I just stood next to him while he waited for his bag, which came around in a couple of minutes. It was a fat bag of tennis rackets.

Looking back, I should have asked him to join in a game with my ultimate frisbee team. His fitness was legendary and we could have used the help since we had only 1 extra player (nevertheless, my team won the summer league championship).

A few years later, I was alone at my parents' home one afternoon making a sandwich. I wasn't supposed to be there but I left work early to run some errands and then I decided to raid their fridge. I noticed a man walking around the backyard. "Can I help you?" I asked.

"Oh, I'm just here to meet Barry Larkin. I talked to your mother yesterday."

"What?!! Barry Larkin? Are you talking about Barry Larkin? You mean Barry Larkin, right?"


I called my fanatically sports-minded cousin (EastCoaster) and told him Barry Larkin was on the way and he needed to get here ASAP. He came over, then Barry came over with his wife and cute baby girl.

My parents had recently put in a pool, and it had a line of black tiles mixed in with the usual white tiles. I had never even noticed it. Larkin was putting in his own pool and he wanted to see what the black tiles looked like. I'm serious... that's the only reason he came over. I think it's funny. It's like going over to someone's house to see how it looks if you plant flowers around the mailbox.

Anyway, he took a look and agreed to sign our stuff and pose for a picture with us. He was super cool and it was a big thrill for us.

Later that evening I had a fun exchange with mom:

"Did you talk with the pool guy about someone coming over to see the pool?"


"Was his name Barry Larkin?"


"Do you know who Barry Larkin is?"


So I explained why this was a big deal, and, since I realized that it was a total coincidence for me to even be there in the afternoon in the first place, I had to ask, "Mom, has anyone else ever been here to see anything?"


05 April 2007

Lou Dobbs Urgently Needed in Ohio Town

The Bucyrus Telegraph Forum reports that 71-year-old Sandra Sarge Sheifer of Broken Sword (halfway between Columbus and Toledo) planted almost 5,000 trees on her farm to celebrate her birthday.

Seems nice enough until you read about the evil forces at play:

"This was my father's farm and he left it to me. I have always loved it because of the beauty of it," Schiefer said as 17 workers from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, employed by William's Forestry and Associates, began planting the trees in the area designated with little pink flags.

It’s bad enough that 17 tree-planting jobs that should go to Ohioans have been stolen by these swarthy Central Americans, but to promote homosexuality with little pink flags is just going too far.

Banks Working Group: Brothers Gonna Work it Out

The Post reports this morning that Portune and Berding have made some changes to the makeup of the Banks Working Group. The Banks is the place where this didn't happen.

The 5-member BWG previously had 5 white men and has now been changed to include 2 black men. My perspective on this is about the same as the Cincinnati Dealer's.

Here's the group's current makeup:

Front of the Bus:
Bob Castellini, chairman (bus driver)
Steven Leeper
Tim Riordan
Tom Gabelman
Robert Rhein

Back of the Bus:
Steven Love
Robert Richardson

So what does this mean? It means that when the Banks development turns out to be totally unremarkable and attracts zero attention from anyone else in the world, the local black community can proudly claim that they were part of it, too.

They say the brothers causin' trouble
Hate to bust their bubble
'Cause we rumble
From our lower level
To condition your condition
We're gonna do a song
That you never heard before
Make you all jump along to the education
Brothers gonna work it out

(Public Enemy)

03 April 2007

Children & Television: What the Research Says

Some interesting information (particularly for parents) from a review article in the latest issue of Contemporary Pediatrics:

Television and aggressive behavior

...the evidence that televised violence increases real-life aggression is as compelling as the evidence that tobacco use causes lung cancer. A meta-analysis performed on hundreds of studies, observational and experimental, revealed a clear and consistent relationship between screen violence and actual aggression.

Exposure to violence on screen affects children in three ways that can ultimately lead to aggression:
  • It can desensitize children to violence through repeated exposure
  • It can induce children to behave more aggressively by conveying the message that aggression is acceptable or even desirable
  • It can teach children to see the world as a fearful place, and to initiate aggression as a way of protecting themselves from perceived threats

Television and obesity

The evidence that reducing television viewing reduces children's excessive weight gain is compelling. Countless cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, as well as an experimental one in school-age children, support that there is a causal relationship between TV viewing and weight gain.

Here the authors find something interesting. They identify three leading explanations for the relationship, but note that only one is supported by scientific evidence:

  • Regular TV makes children more sedentary
  • Regular TV decreases metabolism
  • Regular TV is associated with increased caloric intake

The first explanation is popular, but the association is weak. The authors point out that reading is also a sedentary activity and it has never been implicated in childhood obesity. The key factor in sedentary behavior is probably not time spent watching TV but time spent indoors in general.

The second explanation lacks evidence, probably for the same reason as the first.

It is the third explanation which turns out to be supported by the research:

Here the evidence is strong and growing. Weicha and colleagues found that children consume an excess of 167 calories per hour of TV watched per day. The excess calories consumed were entirely accounted for by foods commonly advertised on television.

Double Standard for Lawbreakers with a Badge?

Should different rules apply to police when they break the law?

Gambrinus wonders about that in a post about an at-fault driver who happens to be a cop.

I can personally chime in that I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often (or if it does, why it isn't reported). I see cops violate traffic laws all the time in downtown and Clifton. And elsewhere, too... I remember driving back from Columbus one time and a county sheriff overtook me, then cut in front of me to take the exit. I was mad so I took the exit, too. I followed him to a DQ where he met another cop for some ice cream.

The CPD is unbelievably oblivious to its public relations problem, apparently choosing to believe that it's only problem is that people say it has problems. Conducting their affairs in a way that engenders respect rather than disdain would be a step in the right direction. But a law enforcement agency that believes it is above the law and proves it by applying one standard for itself and another for everyone else will not be respected or supported by the public for very long.

02 April 2007

Current Trends in Adolescent Stupidity

From Champaign County...

As students across the county have more free time due to spring break from classes, some school administrators are concerned that peer pressure could lead to stupid, even dangerous behavior.

Parents in the Triad district were issued a letter last week regarding the practice of branding the skin with hot metal, a fad that can have serious medical complications.

Triad Superintendent Dr. Dan Kaffenbarger said Friday he was encouraged to spread the word after finding out that approximately 10 students had participated in the act since January.

Medical risks associated with burns include infection ranging from hepatitis to staph and even gangrene and HIV in extreme cases.

The letter also mentioned another unsafe practice that is currently a fad among teens... Participants spray Axe Body Spray on their genital areas then set the flammable liquid alight.

"These practices go beyond typical 'teenagers will be teenagers' and borders on radical stupidity," Kaffenbarger said.

WestEnder Achieves Hypoxic Milestone

Yesterday, without any planning, forethought, or warning, I reached a milestone.

I fainted for the first time.

I got home in the evening, did some work, then watched Sunday night TV with a few brewskies. After a while I lied down on the couch and dozed off. About an hour later I got up and walked down around. I rapidly became dizzy and then VERY dizzy. I realized I had to sit down so I turned to walk back to the couch.

I didn't make it.

Next thing I remember I was lying on the floor face down. I didn't know what happened or why I was on the ground. I was confused and disoriented. I remember thinking I still needed to get to the couch to lie down, so I got up and tried to make it over there. I don't remember exactly what happened, but I remember stumbling around like I was drunk, stoned, tripping, and brain damaged. I was holding on to furniture to make it to the couch.

Didn't make it.

Next thing I remember I was lying on the floor, face up this time. I was between the couch and the wall. I got up and lied down on the couch. I was breathing hard and sweating. I remember wondering if I was having a heart attack or stroke. Was I pulling a Hank Gathers?

I saw CDs, papers, books and magazines all over the floor. I realized I had lost consciousness again and knocked over things on the way down to the floor.

Needless to say, I went down hard both times. I've got a forehead bruise and a handsome gash under one eye. And I jammed a finger. And this morning I noticed raspberries on my shoulder and knee.

I don't know why this happened, but I do remember that I started feeling a bit odd much earlier in the afternoon, after I ate some leftover Mediterranean Pizza from Trio. Maybe their magic ingredient lowers blood pressure. I have no known food allergies so I doubt that's the explanation (and I'll eat anything so I should know by now) .

I don't know why it happened. Weird, huh?