In case you haven’t noticed the gaudy displays enticing people to buy decorations, costumed (see below), and sweets, today is Halloween. It’s a pagan thing that has evolved into a marketing thing. It might be the night before a religious day—All Saints, for you uninitiated—which has evolved from another pagan thing...like Christmas.
Anyway, Halloween was never celebrated or even noticed in Germany until recently. Like all cultural decline associated with consumer marketing in this country, this thing crept in from the United States. Then again, my children may be partly to blame.
Being one half American, from a young age they knew about Halloween and the sweet bounty that could be harvested on the day. Many years ago, when they were still young, no one had heard of Halloween, and costumes were worn only for Fasching, they rang doorbells in the neighborhood. Of course, if anyone opened and did not slam the door in their faces, they were forced to explain their presence and the concept of Halloween (this was before Powerpoint), and then wait patiently—if the person was inclined to search the house for leftover chocolate. It was tough work for a kid, but pioneers everywhere must suffer when treading uncharted territory. Today, kids have it easier, thanks to the spread of cable television, supermarkets, and marketing budgets.
Of course, I must suffer constant disturbance of the doorbell ringing. It’s a pain, but at least I do not have to listen to a speech on the concept of Halloween. I merely hold out a tray with sweets and let them grab a handful. Unlike with my children, I do not care about their teeth...
For all those that think that they know something about wine, marketing, or research...
Horse sense is a good judgment, which keeps horses from betting on people.
The Chinese are everywhere. I received the below words from a former business colleague, one that had many dealings with the Chinese.
This folk seems to be on a roll, so why not try some of their tricks. I view this as being much like playing the lottery: the odds are bad, but worse if you do not play. Like all good psychics (oxymoron warning!), this has bits of truth woven into it. Unfortunately, that deals only with the math and non-profit aspects. At least it does not require sending money to Nigeria. I followed the instructions and sent it to eight friends...who may or may not continue to be friends after receiving it. I offer it here merely for entertainment purposes...
Chinese numerology and Feng Shui for 2011 This year we are going to experience four unusual dates: 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, 11/11/11, and that's not all; Take the last two digits of the year you were born and the age you will be this year and the result will add up to 111 for everyone!!!!
This is the year of MONEY.
Also, this year, October will have 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays & 5 Saturdays. This happens only once every 823 years. These particular years are known as Moneybag years. The proverb goes that if you send this to eight good friends, money will appear in the next four days, as is explained in the Chinese feng shui. Those who don't continue the chain, won't receive. It's a mystery, but it's worth a try. Good luck to you. This only happens once in 800 years.
Speaking of the Chinese....
I’m not sure if I actually read the following headline or dreamed it.
It read: How To Destroy China.
Since it appeared in what looked like the Wall Street Journal, which I do not read, it must have been in a dream...the remainder of which I do not recall. Some shrink can interpret this, but it must have resulted from reading so much about the Chinese economy, the demise of the US economy, and European financial woes (which some hope the Chinese will solve). I won't even get into the bit about the Soong Family...
Regardless of the reasons for the dream, I know the answer. China’s economy can be destroyed by moving manufacturing to other countries of all the goods sold in the West. China’s current success and wealth derived from luring US and most of European production of consumer goods to its factories. Walmart, Nike, Apple, etc. would not be so wealthy without this. Money was shoveled from the US through China into the pockets of the Walton family, Phil Knight, and many others.
Of course, it will take some time to have the desired effect, because many Chinese industries are now feeding a burgeoning domestic market. At some point, owners will do the same as American and European capitalists did and move production to low-wage countries. Then the desired effect touted in the above headline will be achieved—not by anything we do, but by the Chinese following the lead of the West. By then, the US will have declined into true class warfare; Europe will continue to bail out Greece; and....
Isn’t economics fun?
I could never warm to Friends; I may be one of the few on this planet. The only character I liked was Rachel, merely because I found Jennifer to be cute and (occasionally) funny. Feelings about the other characters ranged from disinterest to dislike.
In contrast, I enjoy watching How I Met Your Mother. I am probably not in the target group that producers and the network hope to reach (besides, I record the program and fast-forward through the ads), but I am entertained. It is well-written and humorous. I particularly like that they include a Canadian, who is always an easy target.
I must acknowledge, once and for all, that the purpose of diplomacy
is to prolong a crisis.
Star Trek, Mr. Spock
This is not about a wardrobe malfunction during Dancing With The Stars...
I had a thought, when noticing copious coverage of an interview with the Syrian president by a British newspaper (an obvious choice, if the guy wanted to send a message). He warned against other countries meddling in his country’s internal affairs (ie. helping anyone to overthrow his dictatorship).
This made me wonder why one never reads about major nations, such as China, Brazil, or India meddling in other nation’s affairs. All are successful, wealthy, proud, and capable of meddling. But, they leave that up to America and Europe, and occasionally Russia.
My next question, which arises out of the first one, is why Europe feels the need to meddle? It has enough problems of its own to keep its leaders busy. Perhaps, it is a historical thing: once started, it is difficult to throw off the habit. Of course, everyone knows why Americans meddle...
All trails have more uphill sections than they have downhill sections.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.