Snootpourri: Part 1

I’ve got several bones to pick but no uniting theme other than, it’s what I’m thinking about this week and what some of you requested.

First, I need to address an old request to innumerate the most annoying consulting terms. I have to admit I have been avoiding this one. It seems a little like eating my young given this is how I make my living. If I divulge my secret that what we say is rarely meaningful or comprehensible, that might impact me negatively. And revenues from snootycall, delightful though it is, won’t pay the bills.

As a sacrifice to entertainment, friends, here goes…

1. Sniff test

If I don’t know what it is, I’m sure not sticking my nose in it to find out.

2. Paradigm shift 

Holy hyperbole! Font changes are not paradigm shifts. The Zombie Apocalypse is a paradigm shift. Wait for it.

3. Copacetic

Unless you find yourself on a spiritual journey and weaving hemp sandals, just don’t.

4. Metrics, bi-yatch!

Ok, I’ve never said that, but I’ve often thought it.

5. Strawman

I don’t even know what that means, but sometimes I’ll use it clearly out of context just to see if anyone else does.

6. (Insert Any Adjective) Leadership

There is always a new book touting a super-secret, previously undiscovered, completely revolutionary (!) way to be a jackass and get people to do your bidding. A better approach would be Don’t-be-a-Jackass Leadership. It’s not new, super-secret, or revolutionary, but it is rare and inconvenient, I know.

7. Verbifying nouns, e.g., “bonused” as in The managers were bonused on their performance. Sounds unpleasant.

8. Nounification of verbs like leverage and Impact, as in A sure way to impact your billable hours is to leverage vocabulary to baffle your client.

9. File under over-used: Core Values. I’ve never seen a company without 4 out of the 5 same values in various forms. Just once I’d like to see Fancy Pants on the list.

Ok, fellow PeopleResults, Accenture, and consultant snoots, I know you have my back on this one. Bring us home with your favorite nuggets.

Star-distressed

Eric and I have been married 17 years, and yet there are still depths of Eric’s psyche that remain unplumbed. One of these is an unexplained aversion to Julianne Moore. Yes, the actress, and no, he doesn’t know her. And yet, he will go out of his way to avoid her movies, ads, etc. I decided to try to unearth the root cause.

She’s a good actress, that is not in dispute. But there is something about her near-translucent skin that is unnerving. I dug deeper. Her gums. There is something unnatural about her gums. Fair enough. See the picture? Weird gums. Non-existent gums. Like teeth coming out at  you with no warning.

So, I started examining my own celebrity aversions, and came up with the 2 people I really can’t stand and can’t really say why: Nicholas Cage and Cameron Diaz. With Nick, it’s got to be the hang-dog, mouth breathing. It worked in “Raising Arizona” but not since. Cameron is just someone I feel deserves a punch in the face. No particular reason–she could just do with one. Nickeron offspring would be the end of me.

According to the people at Morphthing.com, this is what a baby Camge would look like, receding hairline, mustache, angular jaw and all. See, already can’t close his/her mouth. Frightening!

So I asked Eric about his male star aversion, and he came up with…Stanley Tucci. Stanley Tucci? That’s what you come back with? That’s like saying you don’t like capers (which he doesn’t). They just don’t feature often enough to warrant a statement that you don’t like them. I sent him back for a better answer. He seconded his dad’s weird aversion to Al Pacino. Could celeb-aversion be hereditary? I see a pattern against mob movie character actors emerging.

I’m curious to know what inexplicable biases snooty readers have. You don’t need a justification. In fact, it’s better if you have no valid reason, whatsoever. Clearly Rachael Ray is odious and grating. That’s too easy. I need to know who you can’t abide on a visceral level, though they are probably a lovely person.

Do This in Remembrance of Me

ImageI’m feeling extra cantankerous today. Nate and I were walking to school, and I glanced down to check my phone, making sure we were on track to make the corner by 7:45. I happened to see the date: 9/11, and I got mad.

Eleven years ago I was pregnant with my oldest son. I was overcome with many emotions in those days following the attacks, but an overwhelming sense of hope rose out of the anger, sadness, and helplessness. I was proud as I witnessed ordinary people do extraordinary things–the healthcare workers from Texas that obtained special coolers, loaded up their cars with blood and skin tissue for grafts, and headed north only to find few survivors to help. I resolved to tell my son about those stories of resilience and kindness.

I didn’t know anyone personally who lost their life that day, but I suspect one thing is true–they would have been honored and proud at the way Americans of all stripes came together. Scratch that, the way most of the world came together in solidarity. And then I got angry thinking about what a mess we have made of it since then. I suspect those lost would be equally disgusted at the way we vilify the other side. Pick your team, and the “others” must be morons, racists, socialists, un-American.

People who boarded those planes with box-cutters that day pronounced us “other,” justified their actions in doing so, and struck us a blow that we still seem to be struggling to find our way past. Some would argue that we have become more divided in the years since 9/11, and I would say that we’ve always been divided. Difference is fundamental to our fabric, and respectful dissent is what makes us stronger. What I think is newly ladled on is suspicion, fear, paranoia, loss of control, and mistrust.

It’s not how I want to be. I don’t want that to be the legacy I leave my sons, who were born into a post-9/11 world. I want them to know when the world was watching, we showed our best selves. And that when the world wasn’t watching, we still did.

Let’s do better.

Rage Against the Perspiration?

A tale as old as time…boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy applies oddly-named body scent, and boy gets girl.

Or that’s the way Unilever sees it. After all, they have “been helping boy get girl since 1983.” I was a girl to be gotten post-1983, and all I had was Drakkar Noir foisted on me.

I sent Eric out the Sunday before school starts for our biggest grocery shopping day of the year. We hunker down with all manners of packable foodstuffs. Since Gus is 10 and in the 5th grade, I thought it was time for some personal hygiene items. He is about as far from puberty (I just mistyped that and got autocorrected to “puppetry”!) as he is from puppetry (it works). But still, good to get in the habit as a pre-emptive strike.

Eric, ever the marketer, comes home with Axe “Anarchy” stick. I guess “Fascism” was a little overpowering. I’m afraid to open it, lest I be assaulted by a British punk band.

So I was curious what the array of choices were in the Axe deodorant stick line and consulted the website. “Twist” I get, and perhaps “Clix”, and maybe even “Dark Temptation” and “Excite” for the 6th grade and up crowd. But “Kilo” and “Phoenix”? I get a visual of Tubbs and Crockett jumping off an exploding boat in international waters. Ok, I kind of get it now.

Axe is first of all, overpowering. I think it’s the 21st century version of the club over the head and dragging the girl by the hair to the cave. Eric pre-screened and strangely “Anarchy” was the least abusive to the olfactory senses. And it had the bonus of being a vocabulary word he and Gus had discussed that very day. “Learning first!” is our motto.

Next I checked out the link on “Responsible Use” thinking I was in for a lesson on moderation and appropriate body parts. It was a video on huffing and igniting! Let me be clear, against huffing and igniting Axe. Holy Suburban Bubble Buster! It would have never occurred to me, but I am now wise to the urban underbelly of hygiene product abuse. I feel like I’ve just watched “The Wire” and need to take my vocabulary street. Word.

Anyway, when you aren’t huffing Axe, it can be applied to the body to draw the female like a moth to a smelly flame. And not just any girl, it only works on the one you want, with some  sort of laser-like properties. That part was less clear. There were graphs and scientific data available, I’m sure.

Problem is, Gus is 10, and describes girls as “all giggly and concerned about their hair.” True that. I worry about a dormant girl-catching magnetron, however. If unused, does it turn on the owner? “Boy, 10, Combusts on the 108 Bus!” I see an opportunity for another Responsible Use PSA. Even worse, what if it does work on that brainy, cute girl who doesn’t giggle and is into Minecraft, Mozart, and Math? Utterly whack.

Shag-Ewwww!

I don’t see a lot of commercials, but since I have been glued to Olympic coverage from 7-11 pm for the last fortnight, I have seen my share of Old Navy dark wash denim and Chevy commercials. What I didn’t see coming was the most disturbing thing I have seen in a long time, the Ragu commercial. Yes, that’s right, as in pasta sauce. It was like a mirage. I almost wonder if I dreamed it, but it was quickly confirmed by the mix of horror and chagrin mirrored on Eric’s face. It must have been between 8-9 pm because my 10-year-old was subjected to it too.

If you didn’t catch it, count your lucky stars. Let me assure you, that’s not a bell that can be un-rung. Suffice it to say the storyline involves a boy walking in on his parent in a compromising moment and a family pasta dinner to make it all better. Tomato therapy, if you will.

First of all, there are story-line problems, the creep factor notwithstanding. The commercial clearly indicates that it is 8 o’clock and warns kids to knock. Then there is the tag line, “A long day of childhood calls for America’s favorite pasta sauce.” What kind of parents are feeding their kid dinner after 8 o’clock? (The kind who don’t lock the door, apparently.) The poor kid is stumbling around, racked by hunger, looking for his absent parents who are too busy addressing their own needs to provide for their offspring. True the kid didn’t look as though he’d ever missed a meal, but still, it doesn’t add up.

Secondly to make it all better, there is pasta? Who could really think about food after that?

Lastly, I really don’t know what the marketing team was going for here, but I’ll tell you what I got out of it. I can’t walk through the marinara section without associating their product with ejaculate. I’m just guessing that wasn’t part of the pitch.