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“Massive” Publicity Stunt?

26 Oct

Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels cars, Little People. These were some of my favorite toys while growing up. However, nothing gave me more joy than my Legos. With my little building blocks I would create cars, houses, and castles. I even constructed a school complete with desks, a chalkboard, and a playground.

I lost a lot of Legos during my childhood. Some were sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. Others got lost somewhere in my huge toy box and were found months later. These incidents happened mostly because Legos are tiny pieces and can easily fit into little nooks and crannies.

Never would I see the day when someone would lose their 8-foot tall Lego piece. However, on October 25 in Siesta Key, Florida, an 8-foot tall Lego man, named Ego Leonard, washed up onto the shore in the early morning.

Was this a publicity scheme thought up by the public relations department at Lego? Doesn’t look like it. According to a BoingBoing blog post by Rob Beschizza, Ego Leonard has appeared on beaches on beach in Zandvoort, Holland and Brighton, England three years ago.

Ego Leonard even has a personal Web site discussing his background and experiences in his “virtual world,” a world that has “been flooded with fortune-hunters and people drunk with power.” Ego Leonard has escaped his homeland in hopes of discovering more about the “beautiful meadows, words, sounds, and gestures” of our world.

So what is this Lego man here to tell us? I’m not exactly sure, but I’m pretty curious to what this all means. And slightly creeped out. Check out this video about beached Ego Leonard or check out his Twitter feed. Yes, he Tweets. He’s legit.

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Thank Goodness for The Knot

11 Oct

When it comes to schoolwork, this has been my busiest semester yet. However, in addition to homework, volunteering at a local church, designing the school newspaper, and maintaining a healthy social life, I am planning my own wedding. Although I am excited about the latter responsibility, I was nervous at first because I had no idea where to begin. First of all, I’m not a girly-girl. Therefore, unlike most of my friends, I didn’t plan out every detail of my wedding at age 7. Furthermore, I’m the first-born child, so my family doesn’t have much wedding planning experience.

Luckily, there is hope for recently engaged girls like me who have no idea what they are getting themselves into, but have a need to always be organized–The Knot.

The Knot is a bride’s dream. It’s website where you can personalized your wedding and gain inspiration for every detail from the dress to the guestbook. One  feature of The Knot is the extensive checklist that guides you through each step of the wedding planning process starting with selecting a ceremony site and ending with writing thank-you notes.

My favorite feature of The Knot is the Inspiration section. This area allows brides-to-be to create a collage of inspiring photographs. Because I have no idea where to begin, I’m able to see examples of escort cards, flower arrangements,  table decorations, and much, much more that have been used in past weddings.

Being a member of The Knot also allows me access to its sister site, The Nest. Through this website, I was able to decide on what colors each room in my house will be. This really helped make registry planning much easier and more personalized. The Knot has another sister site, the Bump, a site dedicated to new moms-to-be. I don’t plan on needing this site soon, but it’s just another great feature The Knot provides.

The Knot has made wedding planning not only less stressful, but more fun. With only 249 more days to go until my big day, I may get stressed out from time to time, but thanks to The Knot I will be organized and on task.

Moneyball Transforms Sport into Meaningful Art

4 Oct

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) strolls boldly into the crowded room and sits at the head of the conference table. After concluding the 2001 season with a heartbreaking playoff loss to the New York Yankees and surrendering his top three superstars to free agency, Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager, must enter the 2002 Major League Baseball season with a new game plan—“adapt or die.” Exhausting millions of dollars for high-profile players is no longer an option for Beane’s low-income team. He can no longer trust the experienced scouts surrounding him at the table,  shifting his confidence toward a newcomer, a rookie—a nobody in the scouting world. He summons Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a computer nerd and Yale economics graduate, to be his sidekick. Together Beane and Brand must try something new, something radical. They must change the face of a broken game.

Conceived from Michael Lewis’s bestselling nonfiction novel, Moneyball focuses on Beane’s unprecedented venture of fielding a team based solely on objective statistics. With the help of Brand’s complex player-value calculations, Beane creates a competitive lineup consisting of the most statistically-efficient, cost-effective players—players most professional scouts neglect and reject in their talent reports due to what the general manger considers subjective reasons.

With Beane the movie’s main character, manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) serves as the antagonist, refusing to yield to Beane’s innovative strategy. Instead of playing Beane’s recruits, Howe sticks to his old lineup. Ironically, as the team stumbles out the gates, the misguided media places the blame on Beane’s “foolish” business endeavors, unaware of Howe’s stubborn refusal to change. Through he speaks few words, Hoffman’s brilliant portrayal of the prideful Howe clashes perfectly with Beane’s heroic persona.

Moneyball isn’t the typical baseball film. It lacks the mystic romanticism of Field of Dreams and The Natural. It leaves playful nostalgia to The Sandlot and Rookie of the Year. Director Bennett Miller (Capote) along with screenwriters Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, Gangs of New York) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) produced a baseball film from a different league, one that relies on intelligent dialogue and subtle emotion to captivate audiences. Although the plot serves an important purpose, the relationships between Beane and the supporting characters are the film’s driving force, the reason why Moneyball is easy to respect and admire.

Like Sorkin’s script for The Social Network, Moneyball is full of sarcastic one-liners; however, none of which are intended to be overtly funny. Yet it’s easy to find humor throughout the film because audiences can connect with the characters and their flaws. They can appreciate the writers’ awareness of the reality of human nature. The fact that the audience is able to identify with the characters serves as a testament to the outstanding acting abilities of Pitt and Hill. In fact, it’s highly likely Pitt will be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

America’s film preference is changing. High-profile sequels and popular celebrities no longer attract audiences. For example, Knight and Day starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz failed at the box office as did Julia Roberts’ emotionless Eat, Love, Pray. In addition, critics responded poorly to Iron Man 2 and the third installment of Chronicles of Narnia. Therefore, instead of supporting plot-driven films that are created solely for the purpose of making millions of dollars, moviegoers are beginning to prefer movies centered on challenges and conflicts that reflect real life. Moneyball may be just want today’s audiences are looking for—real art full of meaning, truth, and emotion.

They Got Me…

15 Sep

Since we are on the topic of writing digital copy, I thought I’d share a relevant experience I had last night. So here’s the story:

Yahoo! is my homepage. It always has been and probably always will be unless it gets bought out by Google. I know Google is considered the better search engine, but I’m not comfortable with change. I’m so familiar withYahoo! and know how to navigate around it with ease. Plus, once I figure something out, I don’t really like to learn a totally different way of doing things. Humans are creatures of habit. I’m one of them.

Anyways, one of the reasons I like Yahoo! is because the homepage provides me with the latest news updates from around the country. It also imports stories from local news outlets. So, I’m browsing around the news headlines, wondering if there’s an interesting story out there, and I find this: 

 Note Figure One:
Do you see it? The highlighted box that reads “Parents: Casey Anthony knew where child…”?

Well, I see the link and immediately try to complete the headline, which happened to be: “Parents: Casey Anthony knew where child…WAS BURIED!!” Now I’m thinking “Oh my goodness, I have to click on this link so I can find out the details!”

So I do, and instead I find this:

Note Figure Two:
Do you see the actual headline? It reads “Casey Anthony’s parents have differing theories on how Caylee died.” I’m pretty sure a “theory” or “idea” is different from a proven fact backed by evidence, which is what the link in Figure One was portraying, at least to me.

So because I clicked on the misleading link, the Tampa Tribune is making money from advertisers.

And because I clicked on the misleading link, I think the Tampa Tribune’s credibility went down a bit in my book.

So if you are writing for an online publication, what will be more important to you–the money or your reputation as a trusted news source?

Personally, I feel cheated.