Thursday, May 31, 2007

You're an IT Guy, Right?

When the elevator opened on the 8th Floor, there was a guy on the elevator already. He looked marvelous. Impeccable, really. Dark blue pinstriped suit. White shirt. French cuffs. Dimpled knot in his tie. Crisp haircut.

"You're in IT, right?" he asked.

I chuckled. "What gave you that impression?"

I was "dressed," which is to say I was in grownup clothes -- a slight difference from my work uniform of a black t-shirt and jeans. I was wearing dress slacks. A new shirt. Had a dimpled knot in my tie. And a ponytail.

"It's the ponytail that gives it away every time," I said. "But I'm not in IT. I'm an outsider. Consulting." I guess IT guys are modern day hippies.

"Ah, I knew you weren't a corporate guy," he said. "No ponytails here. What kind of consulting?"

I laughed. Told him that I had a firm that did organizational communication. "We do employee stuff," I said. "Websites, brochures. We do a little straight talk to employees."

He nodded. "Yeah, that's important work. And it's great that you can do it on your own terms." Then our elevator ride ended. He walked his direction and I walked back to mine, where our dress code is "wear clothes." I think we both were happy that we were where we were.

After having been the Guy in the Suit for 20+ years, in addition to wearing a tie to Immaculate Conception for 13 years, it's fun to be asked, "You're an IT guy, right?" It's funny what outward appearances say about you. I gave up wishing I could be "Impossibly Cool Guy" a long time and many bagels with cream cheese ago. I'll just have to defend against being "You Really Should Come to the Shelter On These Hot Nights Guy." I'll get a haircut before that.

It's a Hot Tamale Today

I knew it was going to be a scorcher today when I was able to walk Snickers the Wonder Dog at 6am in nothing but a t-shirt and shorts for the first time in 2007. It's hot, Africa hot.

Photo credit

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No Honor for Andrew Card

In case the Bush Administration was thinking that those poll numbers indicating that 76% of Americans are against the Iraq War, now they have verification. The University of Massachusetts gave an honorary doctorate to Andrew Card at their recent commencement. Hilarity ensues when nearly the entire graduating student body plus the majority of the professors and dignitaries on stage begin booing and holding up signs that say No Honor: No Degree.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Something Scary

Something scary happened in Center City yesterday. I'll write about it in a bit. I want to get this right.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Little Nostalgia on Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day I am wearing my Vote Peace '04 shirt. Remember when it was possible that John Kerry was going to be elected and we wouldn't be in this idiotic war in Iraq? Remember how in '04 we could have done something different and we would have saved more than 2,000 brave service men and women? It makes me sad...thankful that we have brave soldiers and sad that they have to "sacrifice" at all.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Iced Up Some Heinekens

I just iced up a case of these green devils along with a matching set of Yuenglings. I'm headed to The Big Dog's house for a cookout. It's a beauty day and I might just knock back one or two.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cleanliness Is Next Godliness

I just spent the last two hours cleaning and scrubbing outdoors...and I have to say that "Cleanliness is next to godliness" is a cliche because it's true. I like clean. I think I may go out and buy a bright white and tight t-shirt to celebrate.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nilla Wafers: Simple Goodness

Is there anything better than the simple goodness of Nilla Wafers? We just returned from eating at The Mexican Post, and I had a little heartburn. No problem...just pop one or two (okay, a dozen) Nilla Wafers and I'm not rumbly in my tumbly anymore. Yum.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Penny Farthing

Chuck D just told me a week ago what they called high-wheel bicycles. They're penny farthings. And in a good case of perceptual accentuation, we saw two penny farthings on our bike ride today along the Schuylkill.

Here's a picture (taken with my cell phone, unfortunately) of two guys who were riding the circuit up to the Art Museum. The guy with the handlebar mustache said he's been riding for a long time, and even held a speed record for a while on the "bike." We stopped and talked to the guys for a bit, then got to see them mount the bikes (it's a running start where they jump on a hook at the back of the bike and get a leg up) and ride on.

We spent time riding behind them, and my mind wandered, wondering what it would be like to fall off one of those suckers. Ah, more fodder for iFlipFlop. Then again, I might be better off closer to the ground. Gravity is not my friend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Le Jardin de iFlipFlop

Here's a picture of my garden this morning. We have lots of Goldfinches and wrens moving into our trees. This just made me say "Aaaahhhh" today.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Some Site Stats That Astonish Me

I remember back in they day when I would anxiously look at my site stats to see if anyone came by. Even a few people made me happy. (Still do.) So, it cracks me up when I get my weekly site stats from Sitemeter and see that this blog averages 1,870 readers a day. Who'da thunk?

Even more amazing is my business blog, which has over 400 RSS subscribers, 35 e-mail subscribers, 600-700 additional daily readers, and is now syndicated on Reuters, USA TODAY, San Francisco Gate, and others. Last week, for example, we had over 79,000 readers from Reuters alone. Here's a stats snapshot:

It's not bragging, far from it. I'm just dazzled by the reach that a knucklehead with a Mac and the ability to shamelessly craft incomplete sentences can have. It's a long way from the old poetry anthologies that were read by 100 people, most of them other poets who got comped copies.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

When You Care Enough to Hit Send

You gotta check out Some of those friggin cards are funny. What is it about using 50s throwback images coupled with naughty phrases?


She's a Knockout

She's a Knockout is my new favorite song. I've really been getting into Sellaband, and I invested in Daniel Ward-Murphy because I think this song is gonna make the bigtime. You can listen to it here. Click on the song..and say, "Ah."

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Secret about The Secret

Psst. I've got a secret for you -- if you're into The Secret, you've been punked. (I won't even give a link to that garbage, but you can't walk five feet these days without seeing one of their infomercials or books stacked high at book stores.)

In Oprah, It's Time to Come Clean about The Secret, author John Gravois calls Oprah to task for pushing the power of positive thinking just a little too far. Way too far. As in a woman who quit her chemotherapy because she believed in what Oprah was touting as the power of positive thinking. I call it the power of positively stinking.

We Know Some Cult of The Secret Members
We know a couple who are really into The Secret. I mean, it's what they talk about all the time. They have the books. Make their kids listen to the tapes. The attribute the good turns they've had lately to The Secret. And it's all bullshit.

You see, The Secret is one of those ideas that's irrefutable. It's all about the power of positive thinking, the author says. Think you'll be successful and you will. Think that you will be healthy and you will. Think you are thin, and voila, you're thin. Um, note to knuckleheads, it doesn't work that way.

The Beauty of CultThink
The Cult of The Secret is that if you think positive thoughts, it'll all work out. And here's the super cool part of why The Secret is so popular among the idiots: If you don't get good things, it just means you didn't think positively enough! Beauty. In other words, The Secret can never be proved wrong because it's just a matter of willpower and positive thinking.

I've Got Your Secret Hanging
I'm glad to see this psychobabble exposed by Slate. It's nuts. In fact, the people we know who are really into The Secret told me a few weeks ago that "food doesn't have calories that you don't let it have." I mean, how cool is that? It's just a matter of thinking that the four scoops of Breyer's Vanilla Bean that I ate last week doesn't have calories unless I "let" it have calories. I've got a secret for the bonehead who told them that: My pants don't know The Secret.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

National French Awards

I'm going to the National French Awards tonight. My sons are getting medals -- one placed 11th nationally and the other placed 7th nationally. Felicitations, mes fils!

Photo credit


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Voted Today

I voted in my suburban Philadelphia polling place this morning. Our biggest issue was whether to add an income tax of 0.6% to offset about $450 in property taxes. It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that they should vote "Yes" if their income is below $80,000 and vote "No" if their income is above that. But do you think the ballot questions would explain how that works? Nope.

I am anxiously watching the Philadelphia election today. I'm pulling for Michael Nutter, who I think will lead this city out of the pay-for-play doldrums and to our rightful place as a good city in which to do business. (Trust me, it ain't right's tough on small business owners.) So, I'll be cheering for Nutter to be the mayor.

Now get out there and vote!

Monday, May 14, 2007

One of the Best Parts of Suburban Living

I'm working at home this morning and it's pretty quiet here in my suburban Philadelphia neighborhood -- except for the sound of the trash collectors and recycle guys. I like that noise.

We're the Garbage People today. We had a Mother's Day cookout yesterday, and the detritus of the day is piled high at the end of the driveway. But, no worries -- we have twice-weekly trash pickup. And yes, friends, that's one of the best parts of suburban living -- clearing away the trash without worry. Just this morning I saw that neighbors left on the curb a bicycle, lots of gardening materials, and a toilet. Pretty much nothing is too big or off limits.

Once again, it's the little things, isn't it? Cleanliness is next to godliness.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, and especially to Mrs. iFlipFlop. She's the mother of our teenage boys, which also means that she's outnumbered in the house...lots of Y chromosomes around. Fortunately, Snickers the Wonder Dog is the girl we never had and thinks of herself as one of the kids (minus the backtalk).

I thought this series of pictures captured the essence of Mother's Day at the iFlipFlop household. The top four are pictures taken at about 6:30 one morning when we were trying to get a family portrait. I had set the camera on self-timer and was running into the shots. Mrs.iFlipFlop was waiting patiently as she always does. The rest of us left a little bit to be desired on our "preparation." (She's on the fast track for sainthood.)

The bottom two shots didn't involve herding cats. That's Mrs. iFlipFlop, the UberMom, on a hike in the Poconos and on the Outer Banks.

If you want to see the larger version, and really get a sense of the top pictures, click here and then expand the picture.

Friday, May 11, 2007

We Are Family

What's a family? I think Jessica Hagy at Indexed made it clearer than anyone I've ever seen. This should be used in the next presidential debate when some jerkoff starts in about "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Here's your sign.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rosie Ruiz is My Hero

Did you hear about the Rosie Ruiz doll? Wind it up and it takes the subway...

It all started out with such promise -- we were going to ride 40 miles today. In fact, right up until we got about 25 miles out, that was going to work. Then I went all Rosie Ruiz.

We rode from Center City to Valley Forge, which is 23 miles or so. Decent clip. And except for me slipping down a flight of stairs at a gas station we stopped at to buy Gatorade (those damn bicycling shoes are shiny smooth on the bottom), we were going fine. But I got some kind of tired all of a sudden. I bonked. And there was nothing I could do about it.

So, I limped to the train station at Conshohocken and waited while my dignity waned. Charlie was nice about it. I felt like Rosie Ruiz, the woman who claimed to have won the Boston Marathon, but, in fact, had taken the subway to within a mile of the end and then sprinted across the finish line to "victory."

I'll rest up and try again. Bonking is no fun. Gravity is not my friend.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Back Peddaling

We're off for a ride to Manayunk this morning. I have new skins on my bike and a shiny new helmet. It's a gorgeous day and I'm ready to ride. It's been so lonely out of the saddle.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Happy Place

This picture of Amsterdam makes me happy. I'm reading the 4-Hour Workweek and thinking a lot about what he says.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Back from Toney Orlando at Dawn

I decided to come back from my Orlando conference a couple days early. I'm glad I did. I could have done without that 4-year-old girl kicking my seat for 2 hours on the way from Orlando to Philadelphia, but then after listening to her parents I realize she's going to have enough hassles ahead of her in her life, so I didn't need to add to the joy.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

On My Way to FLA

I'm heading to Orlando tomorrow. I have a meeting during the afternoon. Then I'm giving a talk with JT on Sunday at a trade conference. From there, hanging at the conference until Wednesday. I'll be doing some Disney Blogging from the Swan and Dolphin.

Meanwhile, it's been the crappiest week in a really, really long in a few years. So, tomorrow night, when I'm done with my meeting, I might say hello to Mr. Guinness.

DiBruno's Piazza

The City of Brotherly Love is getting some South Philly love from DiBruno Brothers. They sent this announcement about DiBruno's Piazza:
DiBruno Brother's is pleased to announce plans for a piazza on our square on the corner of 9th and Montrose. The piazza will run every Saturday through the summer from 11am-4pm and will feature local vendors of food, flowers and art. We will also feature activities for children and benefits for a variety of charities. Some highlights include:

Performances by students from Paul Green's School of Rock

Chef Daniel Stern (of Gayle and Rae fame) presenting an assortment of small dishes for a charitable cause

The artwork of Denise Cavalieri Fike, professor of Art at Drexel University (and, in the interest of full disclosure, mother extraordinaire)

Flowers from 9th Street vendor Betty Ann

Culinary masters from Pronto preparing treats on the grill

Specials from DiBruno Brothers House of Cheese
I think I'll have to go check that out.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Do You Ever Think You're in the Wrong Business?

What would you do if you could do anything? Would you do your current job? Live where you live?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Running Through Puddles at the Penn Relays

The Youngest iFlipFlop ran in the Junior High Boys 4x100 at the Penn Relays last Friday. Just before his race there was lightning and thunder, followed by about an inch of rain. After a 90-minute delay, the Youngest iFlipFlop was out on the track and rady to run. Here's the video:

Their team came in fifth in a very competitive division. But how cool is it to be 14 and running in the Penn Relays? That's how those guys took it. Here's the team's picture after the race.

Extra cool little bit: In addition to his running skills, Youngest iFlipFlop also is excellent in karate. He gets his 2nd Degree Black Belt tonight in a ceremony. Yep, he's 14. When I was 14 I was just getting over having dirt clod Army fights with my friends.