Archive for January 16th, 2010

One of my Face book friends frequently posts links to music videos on youtube.com. I love watching the clips and listening to the music. It hasn’t bothered me much that Google ads pop up at the base of many of them.

Recently, I’ve been paying more attention to the ads, wondering if the AI software of today is any better than computer generated marketing of the past.

I’ve determined that they’re not quite there. As evidenced by two events I’ve witnessed in the last 24 hours.

One was when my ex-husband joined Face book – and Face book recommended I send him a friend request since we had two friends in common (our children). Face book did the same thing a few months ago when his girlfriend joined.

I shrugged it off with a grin. The computer has no way of knowing. Facebook is like Spock in the old Star Trek series. No emotions, just facts. It’s perfectly logical that if someone were friends with both of my children, I would likely be that person’s friend as well.

The more fun one was the google ad on one of my friends music suggestions today. I had to look twice before I figured out why it was advertising what it was advertising. After all, it’s a computer. It only knows what it reads.

Targeted Advertising


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Mike’s son Bradley and I were discussing butchering. His grandfather butchers every winter and fills their freezer with meat for the year. It’s a subject that he and I have in common. He always goes out and helps his Pop. I remember doing the same when I was young.

We were having the conversation while I was driving him to a birthday party. He was in the front seat and his younger sister and older brother were in the back. I told him “I do remember having a freezer full of meat always. But if we got tired of beef or deer, we would kill a chicken for dinner sometimes.”

He noted that he hadn’t experienced that, although he’d heard stories. Based on the stories, he thought he’d enjoy it.

I laughed and told him “Well, the first time a chicken with it’s head cut off ran at you and squirted blood all over you, you might just change your mind.”

As I laughed, the little girl’s voice in the back seat joined the conversation. “But, if their heads are cut off, how do they see where they are going?” That took a little time to explain.

I was spoiled, having two male children. Somehow, I remember their questions being easier than hers.

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Faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases. Tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces. Traces of love . . . (and the music fades).

On top of the entertainment center is a teddy bear. Unlike most of my bears, I haven’t given him a name. He sits apart from the others and reminds me periodically how much fun it is to climb outside the box.

He’s wearing a t-shirt that has “Brian Wood All-State Tenor” on an iron on patch on the front. There’s a button stuck to the t-shirt that says the “All-State Tenor”. And a medallion hanging from his neck that says “Mighty Maroon Award” in the middle of it.

The bear is from a concert I attended during my son Brian’s high school career. I wanted a memento of the day, because it was quite an honor for him to have performed in the All-State chorus. I browsed through the options they offered. You could buy a long sleeved t shirt with your child’s name and position ironed onto the upper part of the sleeve. You could buy a teddy bear with one of a number of generic “All-State” patches ironed on it.

I kept looking but didn’t find anything that would work for me. I wanted it to be personalized – they had the patches with the names of the participants on them already made. But I knew Brian would never wear the long sleeved t-shirt.

I looked at the patch with his name on it. Then I remembered the teddy bear that you could get with a generic patch ironed on the t-shirt. And then I asked, “What I’d really like to do is just buy this patch and then have them put it on the teddy bear’s t-shirt. Is there any reason I can’t do that? And what would it cost?”

Surprised by my request, they contemplated what they would charge me just for the patch. Then I asked the same question of the person selling teddy bears. Both of the vendors were surprised at first, and then intrigued.

When it was all said and done, I had a teddy bear that was wearing a Brian Wood All-State TenorI t-shirt. And the folks selling t-shirts and bears had a new marketing idea. The teddy bear hasn’t gone the way of the t-shirts and other awards of his youth. He still sits around to remind me to be proud of my son’s accomplishments. Sometime later the mighty maroon award was added. I smile whenever I glance his way – proud of my son as well as myself.

Bear Award

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