What A Wonderful World It Might Be…

I was researching a project last night which led me to this 1930s-40s in Color (Set) on Flickr.  The photo below wasn’t really germane to what I was looking for, but like so many other stream-of-consciousness digressions on the web, it does enjoy an odd synchronicity with so many year-end blog entries I’ve been reading lately.  Namely, how most of us view this first decade of the new millenium as something of a bust.  And no, that’s not my opinion; according to the Pew Research people, that’s a fact (details here).

Of course, the events of the day will always effect how you view things and this Downhill Decade has been lousy with fear.  We kicked off with the Y2K hysteria then quickly plowed into the wrenching impact of 9/11 which cast a long shadow across the national psyche.  On and on, the news presented a steady drumbeat of negativity, from Hurricane Katrina to Islamic fundamentalism to Wall Street venality and even my beloved Irish’ ongoing ineptitude on the gridiron: it’s been a decade rife with fear.

But, to quote John Goodman’s character Gale Snoats in the imminently quotable Raising Arizona, “I would rather light a candle then curse your darkness.”  And so, take a moment and look at this railcar from long ago, snapped by a true American treasure, photographer Jack Delano.  This was just one of a 50-car railroad carnival that traveled the Eastern Seaboard for three decades, starting in 1933.  Delano spotted it at the Vermont State Fair of 1941.  Take a moment and read that strong, confident typeface promising a better experience.  And let’s all take a moment to keep that in mind as a sort-of mental motto as we tumble into this millenium’s second decade.

We can choose to make this a World of Mirth, even should some boneheaded Nigerian try to make it a world of evil and needless brutality.  Mirth can prevail if we will it so.  Joy is a choice.  I choose joy.

And hope this Kelly fella can do something about Notre Dame football.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

Department of Redundancy Department


This is what deep-fried bacon looks like.

Admittedly, it’s hard to imagine deep-frying could diminish it’s bacon-y deliciousness.

That said, it’s also hard to imagine this showing up on your plate as anything but the onset of an episode of immense dietary regret.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

The Office is Now Closed

Put a fork in 2009–it’s done.  Not to say that we’re done, particularly.  The business of ideas never truly shuts down for a Holiday.  It bubbles along, freeriding the subconscious, honing in on quieter moments, casually filling the idle hours.  Because there’s always another assignment, always another avenue, always something you could do more remarkably, more memorably, more effectively.

trailerOfficially, we’ll start doing that again on January 4th at 9am.  But during those off days, chances are good thoughts of work will share top synaptic billing with all those sugarplum visions dancing in our collective heads.  Merry merry indeed.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

Spammed-A-Lot: Imagining a Life Without Akismet

When I first started blogging a year ago, I noticed this little switch on WordPress that activated something called Akismet.  Apparently, this product shielded my comments section from Spam, and so I clicked it.

Picture 2Those Akismet people make a seriously great product: to date I’ve been shielded from upwards of twelve hundred comments, most of which look like the graphic at left.  Seriously, that’s what spammers typically post to my comments section.  Over and over again.

Now I’m not gonna pretend the promise of greater virility (and more satisfaction for her!) has no audience, particularly among middle aged men like myself…but why do they then make the leap to also assume I’m fat (Hoodia), depressed (Effexor, Lexapro, Paxil), hearburn-y (Nexium, Prilosec), and swimming in cholesterol (Lipitor)?  Seriously, this is how you think it’s best to introduce and promote yourself?  Sending me a slew of value judgments presented in a barrage of repetitious garbage?  And they you do it over and over with link after link in spam after spam?   This is the marketing equivalent of a busload of campers singing “100 Bottle of Beer on the Wall” but starting at say, 237,999.  That’s not marketing, it’s bombardment.

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy and beautiful in this world, never, ever, ever click on this kind of garbage.  Who we choose to reward with our discretionary spending reflects our values.

And I can’t think of anyone I know who isn’t better than this.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

Check Your Wallet for a First Premier Credit Card

If you have one, cut it up.  This lovely little subprime product comes with a 79.9% interest rate (do they really think that last .9% is necessary given the first 79&?).

Happily, new banking laws will cap that rate at 26% come February 2010.  But until then, these usurious thieves will continue to prey on those in the shallowest end of the credit rating pond.  Read more here.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79