A talented artist died tragically young – Let’s sell stuff!

Way back in 2006, I wrote a short post about “pitching the dead.”  This is the concept of trying to grab onto a “newshook” created by the death of a celebrity or a death that captures public opinion.

Microsoft recently came under fire for a tweet from one of their accounts that read:

Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ album over at Zune,”


This led to the standard “faux-outrage” articles and the inevitable, apology:

Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse ‘download’ tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you.


Let’s just save everyone a lot of time, don’t pitch the dead.



Let’s watch Rahm Emanuel create a news story out of nothing

Note that I didn’t say it was a positive news story.  Rahm Emanuel was asked by NBC Chicago reporter Mary Ann Ahern whether he was going to be sending his children to public school in Chicago or a private school. There’s a bit more to this story, and you can read what the reporter had to say here, but my gut says that had the question just been answered, it would have at most been a local/regional story, but nope losing your temper makes it national.

Maybe Rahm felt like being on the national news today. If that was his goal, he succeeded. For everyone else, don’t get mad at reporters, remember, they buy ink by the barrel.


Has “junk” become a normal, conventionally used term?

Last November I wrote about John Tyner and how his statement to the TSA of “Don’t touch my junk,” caught on and touched a cultural nerve.  That was one of my most viewed posts of the year, apparently people don’t like their junk touched but they love to read about it.

Since that post, I hadn’t thought much about the use of the term junk until I was watching the local news tonight and the newscaster used the term and it appeared in a photo caption. I guess “junk” is now standard usage. I wonder what the AP Style Guide has to say about that?

If someone asks you to run with them – they probably have a good reason –

In January I was at a dinner for an old friend’s 40th birthday.  He was in my fraternity in college and lives a few blocks from me.  Also at the table was another guy from college and from the fraternity.  To be honest, we weren’t good friends in college, but get along very well now.  During the dinner it came up that I was going to be running my first marathon in March. He congratulated me, and then asked if I wanted to run another one, or maybe a ½, with him in San Francisco in July.  I was hesitating, then he told me why he was running.
Sean was also in our fraternity.  He and his wife have two kids about the same age as mine.  Their younger daughter was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis at her one-year check-up. Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a debilitating genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow randomly throughout the body on the nerve sheaths. NF occurs in more than one in 3,000 births – more than Cystic Fibrosis, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Huntington’s Disease combined.
That first year, she underwent more than 20 MRIs all under general anesthesia to try and identify all of the tumors that could be growing.
When I was asked to run, I was scheduled to run a half marathon in the first half of March and my first full marathon at the end of that month. I didn’t even know if I could run a full marathon ( I did, it wasn’t pretty but I did it).  I committed to running the ½ Marathon with the NF Endurance Team in San Francisco on July 31st.  I’ll be running along with my wife, and my brothers from college.
There is no cure yet for neurofibromatosis, but if enough people listen to their friends, and run when they’re asked, we’ll find one.
The NF Endurance Team raises money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.  Join us by donating at http://www.active.com/donate/nfsanfran2011/JMorgan314
And maybe next year, run along with us. If you can’t donate right now, just do me a favor.  Next time someone asks you to run with them, say yes, they probably have a good reason for asking you.

Have a Mac in Sacramento? Core Care is where you should go for hardware work


I have a MacBook from late 2007.  It originally had 1GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. For the past year and a half, I’ve known I was on borrowed time with the hard drive.  Last week, it finally died.  Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson about backing up regularly and use Time Machine and a 500GB Seagate drive for backup.

Thanks to Core Care, I have my MacBook back, now with a 750GB drive, more RAM, oh and a new keyboard and top, which Apple replaced. All of this was about $280.  Why not just get a new MacBook?  Apple has a new version of its operating system coming out later this month.  I try and never get the first rev of the OS. Trust me on this.


My plan was to wait until the end of the year then start looking for a new MacBook, but with how sweet the old one is running right now, that might get pushed back a little further.


FunnyOrDie reminds us what a good viral video looks like

I’ve written twice before about the attributes of what makes a video “go viral,” online and get passed along and shared.  The list of attributes for a successful video included:

  • it has to be compelling (this might be oddly funny i.e. NUMA NUMA, timely i.e Paris Hilton’s response to John McCain (OK this was in 2008), heart-warming like the late Randy Pausch’s last lecture, or just oddly compelling like the Daft Punk girl)
  • a story arc – albeit short – not all videos have them but it can help
  • something people can identify with
  • safe for work – most people view online video at work, don’t make them feel like they’re going to be fired for watching
  • a core audience – who is going to start the video moving? There has to be some core group that cares about the content, then it can move beyond them
FunnyOrDie just nailed all of them with their take on the NFL Lockout with “Field of Dreams 2.”