STARBUCKS IS GOING GRANDE

Icoffef someone had shown me the business plan for Starbucks and asked me to be an early investor I would have said, “Are you nuts? Ya think anyone will plunk down $5 for a coffee you can’t even pronounce?”

And that’s why I still have a piggy bank vs. a robust portfolio of ever growing stocks and bonds.

I go to Starbucks every day and they’re so used to my “grande skinny decaf no whip two-pump mocha” order that they start making it the minute I walk through the door. This is the Starbucks on MacArthur Blvd. in DC as opposed to the Starbucks on G Street, M Street, Wisconsin Ave. and about 78 other DC locations.

You would think they’d start to cannibalize each other, but there seems to be a very steady stream of coffee-loving consumers who drag themselves out of bed each morning just to get their venti latte, caffe misto or pumpkin-spiced frattacino (just made that one up but it might go over well with college guys). There is also, in fact, a big cardboard box o’ coffee you can take home for parties. That kinda reminds me of the jug o’ wine thing from my college days (a whole other blog).

And as for the folks I see every day? It’s everyone from realtors with laptops grabbing tables and moms with strollers to docs in scrubs (hopefully not in the middle of a colon resection) and retirees with a stack of newspapers and magazines dating back 12 years. Heck – it’s everyone! Some of us want to fuel up and go (like me) and the rest want to hibernate for the winter or lock themselves in the 200 sq. ft. bathroom for a quick wash.

But there’s more than coffee and donuts and some odd looking sandwiches coming our way. Now that they’ve got us hooked on some opiate in the coffee, they’re going to start getting our hearts to beat just a bit faster with tea. Starbucks just picked up the Teavana chain for a cool $620 million. That’s in addition to buying Evolution Fresh juices and Bay Bread for munchies (to replace all the sawdust and twine “bread” they now serve).

And if that’s not enough for Starbucks to take on, guess is their new at-home Verismo coffee and espresso will grab a slice of the single-serve pie that Green Mountain has savored to date.

As for me, I’ll stick with my unpronounceable order, test out the new bread and juice, and wish I was with Starbucks Chief Howard Schultz that fateful morning when he woke up, went to the diner, ordered coffee and had his AHA moment. That’s what I call grande thinking.

Two Men and a Half-Wit

Only in Hollywood would a goofy looking, bible-toting actor making $8 million a year talk trash about his very own show.

Here’s the deal.  The kid who’s grown up (and grown rich) over the last 9 years playing Jon Cryer’s son on Two and a Half Men found Jesus and lost some street cred.

The kid had a religious awakening and made a video distributed online by a Christian church in which he pleaded with viewers to stop watching his show and “filling your head with filth.”

Look, I’m not counting anyone else’s money, but this is one rich kid who seems like an ingrate to me (and maybe lots of others).  Where does this geeky kid with a wallet the size of Oklahoma come off telling TV viewers to please change the channel?

So, today, probably after a closed door session with producers that rivals something out of The Shining, teen turd Angus T. Jones apologized, saying, “I’m sorry if my remarks showed indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and lack of appreciation of my opportunities.”

Ya know what I say?  Too late twerp.  We all heard what you said and don’t believe one word of your “apology.”

Half the world would give their right arm for the chance to read scripts, show up on set for 9 years and make boatloads of money by the time they’re 19 (or 75 for that matter).

I’m not sayin’ it’s wrong to find religion.  It’s just wrong to bite the hand that feeds you.  And Angus took a very big bite.  A T-Rex size bite.

The “half man” has a year left on his contract and chances are real good he’s done with show biz.

From a PR standpoint, the apology was necessary, but dumb, and there’s nothing I would suggest the kid do except not talk to the press for the next year and maybe give away all his money to charity.

And ya know what the T. in Angus T. Jones stands for?  Turncoat.  It’s curtains for the kid.

SHAME ON YOU, JOHN MCCAIN!

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I can’t help myself.  I just have to weigh in on this Repub finger pointing at Susan Rice.  Is John McCain out of his frickin’ mind?  Has he mixed Ambien with his Bourbon and then decided to do a media tour?

He and Lindsey Graham need to make an appointment with a neurologist, stat!

So, the old white guys feel like making a pre-emptive strike against Susan Rice just in case Prez Obama taps her as the next Secretary of State?  They’re out of they’re league (as well as minds).

If you don’t know about Susan Rice’s background, let me fill you in a bit.  She was a 3 letter athlete and valedictorian at the National Cathedral School, attended Stanford, was tapped as a Rhodes Scholar and then finished at New College, England.  She was also an Econ Professor at Cornell.

McCain and Graham?  I’m trying not to snicker here.  McCain finished in the bottom fifth of his class at the Naval Academy and Graham graduated the University of South Carolina.  That’s not ranked way up there with Stanford the last time I checked.

Yes, Susan Rice had her talking points on Benghazi when she did the Sunday morning talk show circuit after the September 11 attack.  And yes, she was given the talking points by the Obama administration which did not brand the Benghazi action a terrorist attack.  That’s it.  End of story.  And this is what has prompted McCain and Graham to declare that Rice is unfit to be Secretary of State.

Tell me, don’t these guys have anything better to do?  Like try to pick up the pieces of the fractured Republican party?  Trust me, this is not a shining example of bi-partisanship.  It is bad behavior, plain and simple.  And I think these guys deserve a time out.  Don’t you?

 

Rally Round the Flagpole

Raise your hand if you haven’t embedded a General?  I don’t see many hands.  Has everyone out there slept with David Petraeus?  I have an alibi.  If he wasn’t on jdate, I haven’t met the guy.

What the heck is going on?  I mean I know all the lords In Parliament are wearing ladies’ underwear under their pinstripes, but what’s with all these macho military men?  Whatever happened to porn?

I’m sounding like a wise ass, but it’s not like any of these multi-starred generals was actually in love with Paula or Jill or any of the dozen other women they’ll soon find sleeping under the stars.

I know these guys are away from their wives for months at a time, but isn’t that what magazines and videos are for?  I’m not an expert at this stuff, but it all seems pretty basic to me.

And what’s with the rogue FBI agent who started sending shirtless pics in e-mails?  I think he’s the same guy who whispered about the “Petraeus affair” to Eric Cantor.  Glad he was suspended.

K.  Here’s my bottom line. This stuff makes for great copy (and blogs) and the next episode of Homeland, but if no secret sauce was leaked, then it’s none of my business and I could care less.  If I kept count of who’s sleeping with whom I’m not sure I’d have much time left to work during the day and eat my Pb&j at night.

I know it’s a brave new hi-tech world where we can see Kate Middleton naked as well as her ginger-haired brother-in-law Harry, but do you know how many presidents slept with other women and no one really cared to know?  Let’s just say it resembled a really good episode of Mad Men.

So, is this story kinda fun to follow?  Yup.  But, if no secrets were shared and no one got hurt, then I say it should have stayed behind closed doors.

Social Media and the Election

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses the upcoming election and the role social media plays.

For months now, the internet has been flooded with political news and opinions. I’ve seen countless Facebook posts and tweets about the upcoming election and its candidates, but are all of these social media users actually planning to vote? Anyone can sit on the internet and rant and rave about candidates, but I hope that those who truly care will take their opinions to the polls.

During the third presidential debate, my roommate and I noticed that if we were to base the election results on candidate popularity, Barack Obama would win by a landslide. However, I saw someone post about the same concept, except that Mitt Romney would be the victor. Initially I thought my Facebook friend must be blind, but it makes sense. The majority of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers grew up near me, went to college with me, or were in my sorority, so it’s likely that we share similar views. You can’t really get a glimpse of the majority when you’re surrounded by others much like yourself.

To get a better idea of candidate popularity on social media, I was going to compare the exact amount of Facebook “likes” both Obama and Romney have, but in the past five minutes alone Obama has gained more than 2,000 likes. Each time I refresh the page, the number continues to grow. The same goes for Romney. Although both are seeing increasing numbers, Obama has nearly 32 million “likes,” while Romney has just over 12 million (as of 11:10 a.m. EST).

There’s a huge gap here, but is social media support in any way indicative of election results? I guess only time will tell.

Without Z There are No Zombies

Put a stake in it vampires, you’re done, ‘cause Zombies have taken center stage.  Wassup with our never-ending love of zombies?  I know its Halloween and all, but I can barely click 10 stations in any direction without stumbling across one of those lurching, rotting creatures just dying for a taste of (my) liver.  I mean this is no Food Network challenge.  This is a bunch of very hungry, post-apocalyptic dudes looking to tear you and me from limb to limb and eat us carpaccio.  They’re not big on roasting.

I admit I watch The Walking Dead.  I don’t exactly know why (but it might have something to do with the hunky sheriff Rick).  I like seeing the special effects and watching the gang of humans squash the zombies like bugs in all kinds of novel ways.  There are picks and machetes and bayonets (yup the b word again) and poles and arrows and axes…you name it and this gang uses it to put the zombies out of their ever lovin’ misery.

Zombies have been around for a while.  I know this for a fact.  There’s the Night of the Living Dead which forced me to use a nightlight well into my 20s, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later for starters.  And now with almost a full moon and Halloween, the streets will be teeming with them.

I’ve always found it interesting that these kidney-eating monsters don’t really move that fast.  I mean, a snail has a chance at a get-away if the zombie gets a taste for escargot.  So, all ya really need is to avoid their bite while you drill them with a nail gun.  If you’re bitten, you’re kinda screwed cause then you’ll turn into a zombie, too, and shamble around in very dirty clothes looking for your next al dente meal.

And if you see some tonight, or some other night, walking in slo-mo and dripping blood?  Got two words for you — RUN FAST.

Lance Armstrong- What a Dope!

Lance has taken quite a spill and chances are really good he won’t be getting up from the ground anytime soon.

It’s amazing how much wool this guy pulled over everyone’s eyes. Not sure there are any sheep left. And it’s great that his early tattlers now have major street cred.

It’s true the guy had cancer and beat it, but that’s the only thing he honestly ever beat.  He’s been totally stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles and banished from the NY and Boston marathon books, too.

The guy is just a cheat, along with lots of his biker buddies.

I used to watch the Tour de France amazed at these ironmen with legs of steel able to pedal to a medal. But, now the entire world knows it was all a fake. His pedal-power was fueled by just the right amount of steroids to become superman without showing up on a blood test.  This was one cagey biker.

In the PR profession we’d probably counsel Lance to lay low for a long time and then spend the rest of his life doing charity work.  Oh, wait a minute…Lance already has a charity!  And he didn’t do LIVESTRONG any favors by ruining his good name.  And that name is being erased from the sides of bikes, helmets, jerseys and energy bars (so I just made that one up) even as I blog.

What was he thinkin’? Guess is he just wanted to be a winner and was willing to do whatever it took to get him to the medal stand. What a dope!

Lance not only gave pro cycling a black eye, but he also spoiled the sport for all the weekend warriors who strap on their helmets and ride 10 or 20 miles.

If I were Lance?  I’d grow a beard, grab my passport and leave town for a long time. It’s time for Lance to ride into the sunset and never show his smug mug again.