Apr 11, 2011

Ramblin' Monday --- Random Bytes

Q: Who was responsible for the comeback of Pabst Blue Ribbon? What was once a cheap workingman's beer disappeared for decades. Now you can't walk into a live-music joint (or any joint in Brooklyn, for that matter) and not see the young crowd slugging it down. Find that person and put him/her in charge of everything. Now that's what I call a corporate turnaround! I smell a book coming.

Recall a few years back where the buzz was about out now being in an "experience economy?" The gist: we now seek to do things as opposed to collect things with our disposable income. A Disney World vacation? Yes. A pool table in the basement? No. But now, I'm not so sure we are even in an experience economy anymore. Yes, people show up, but once there they don't really experience anything. They just seek to take a picture of what's supposedly going on. On the oustide looking in, but on the scene!

"History has a long leash" (RM)

A random promotional idea for the fading sport of thoroughbred horse racing: a national contest to pick the complete (first to last) order of finish in the Kentucky Derby. Winner gets $10 million. Do the math: it's do-able (and insureable).

"Rand's particular genius has always been her ability to turn upside down traditional hierarchies and recast the wealthy, the talented, and the powerful as the oppressed" (Mother Jones on conservative icon Ayn Rand. Get ready for next week's release of the Atlas Shrugged movie. This will be ugly. Count on it)

Attention Red Sox fans. Relax. The Ole Town team is just taking a lesson from Zenyatta. This race is a marathon, not a sprint.

This woman at the podium (another self-professed 'social media guru') just said "Twitter is my primary news source." What she is really telling us is that she has minimal interest in the outside world and that even her own vacuum is only worth the random touches that she happens upon now and then. Now, why do I attend these events ?

When was the Capital Region anointed as the Cult Capital of America? I missed that memo. Scheduled for May at the Empire State Convention center is the meeting of the Twelve Visions Party, aka The Neothink Society. This group, now making its way onto various cult watchdog radar screens, spews the standard secret code salvation message, but mixed with a far right wing political agenda with some perpetual life mumbo-jumbo tossed in. Plus the usual MLM business model, of course. It's a very weird cocktail, for sure, and makes NXIVM and the John Birch Society both look mainstream. But it's not nearly as weird as the group's guru, one Mark Hamilton, who can best be described as looking like a Vegas used car salesman -- on acid. Look him up, just for a good chuckle. The problem is that not everyone is chuckling.

It's sad to hear the status and fate of the Parker Inn boutique hotel in downtown Schenectady. When built in the prior decade, it was heralded as the first building block of State Street's revival in that desolate city. Fast forward to the present, and we learn of its bankruptcy filing and a future where it will be turned into private residences and apartments. Local economic development officials are distancing themselves from their organization's financing of the orignal project, blaming it on predecessors. It's tough to make a go of it when you only have 23 rooms to rent. The comparable 74 State Hotel in downtown Albany is feeling similar pain.

We read of a new Broadway retailer about to open shop in pricey Saratoga Springs. Their product line? Olive oil. Yes, I said olive oil. No, the press release did not come out on April Fool's Day. The betting windows are now open...

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