When Economists Become Graffiti Artists

Even though over one million people read The Economist magazine, it is challenging for most economists to get their thoughts and analysis out to the mainstream. A group of rogue economists have taken to the street and have started painting their messages on overpasses. This is what I see on my way to work each morning, “Working for the money you have already spent.”

The Irony of Song Lyrics

Music is played in the background of many commercial environments and nobody really thinks about the appropriateness of the lyrics. The music is not always a subscribed service. It could just be the radio or the current digital equivalent. But there is just something a little wrong – even ironic – about hearing the line from Hotel California, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave,” while riding on a hotel shuttle.

Don’t Ever Lower the Tray

I sat next to a germaphobe on an airplane and I’m not sure how he survived the flight. Planes are not clean places. Every time he had to re-fasten his seat belt after sitting back down, a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer magically appeared to do its work. I’ve read that the tray is one of the dirtiest things on a plane because they are not cleaned between flights. I noticed that he didn’t lower his.

I Don’t Know Who You Are

I got a voicemail from a sales person. He left me his name, the name of a very large technology company and his phone number. Why would I possibly call him back without any context of why he was calling? Did I download an ebook and he was following up by phone? I don’t know. Was he cold calling me about a product that might be useful to me? I don’t know. Was this an exploratory call to get to know me to see if he could help me? Again, I had no idea who he was or why he was calling. It’s no surprise that I didn’t call him back.

You Know Who I Am

I get very frustrated with lazy marketers. I signed up for an email newsletter from a membership organization, but did not join the organization. It was something that I needed to do for research for work. One of the first emails I received from them encouraged me to join or renew my membership today. It is not complicated segmentation to send me an email that shows they know who I am. There are only two states here, and in both of them I am not a member right now. I have either been a member before or I haven’t. Split this email list in two so that the right messaging can be included. After this major marketing error, they inundated me with email nearly every day and I wound up unsubscribing completely.

The Role of the Superhero Cape

I wonder why superheroes have capes. If the hero flies, what is the function? It would seem to add drag to their flight. Their skintight suits would seem to already be aerodynamic. I thought maybe it was a film effect to show the cape flapping in the breeze to indicate flight, but many of the superheroes existed in print first. Maybe it was just an art/costume decision to add contrasting colors and balance out the suits? That would make sense whether they fly or not. If I were a bigger superhero fan I’m sure I would know just where these kind of internet fights take place.

Area Man Displays All Aspects of His Life on Virtual Video Screen Above His Head

Area man has taken living a connected life to the extreme. He has downloaded a new app called Virtual Reveal to his iPhone and it gathers all his data and projects it on a virtual reality screen over his head. Not only does it show the obvious things like number of steps and his heart rate, but anyone walking by him can read every tweet, Facebook post, Snapchat story where people spew vitriol at him for being such a tool.

There’s Drama in Everything

I saw a musical about presidential assassins. It was written by Stephen Sondheim. You can find the drama in everything. He told the New York Times, “There are always people who think that certain subjects are not right for musicals…We’re not going to apologize for dealing with such a volatile subject. Nowadays, virtually everything goes.” It’s really true. I once saw a play that was a series of dramatizations of crashed airplanes’ black box recordings.

Dreaming into Reality

I had just gotten back to sleep after waking up well before I needed to. I had a dream that I was in a department store dressing room. I heard my mom calling me. She said my name three times. Jeff. Jeff. Jeff. And suddenly my phone woke me up. It was my mom calling. If this were a movie there would be some momentous thing happening, but it turned out that she accidentally dialed me while she was out walking. I was the last number she had called the night before.

A Nation of Mattress Testers

We have certainly lost a lot of formality in how people in America dress. Suits, hats, gloves have all disappeared from most people’s daily wardrobes. It’s no longer just kids who wear pajamas to the grocery store. And it’s not just college students either. Some adults have adopted this practice. It makes me think of the saying that you should dress for the job you want, rather than the one you have. Are there really that many people who wish to be mattress testers? But with regard to informality, how far is too far? Does business casual ever become bedroom casual? And maybe the woman wearing fuzzy slippers at the store is a sign of too far. Is it that hard to put on a pair of shoes?