Hey Perverts:

________!!!!!!!STOP TOUCHING THE BABIES!!!!!!!!________

Digital composite of two children playing under the sprinkler [flickr.com]

Swiss Bust Child Pornography Ring
[06-28-09] Swiss police say they have uncovered an internet child pornography network spanning 78 countries and involving at least 2,000 IP internet addresses.

Bruns Leaves 'U' in Criminal Case
[1999] Thousands of pornographic images were stored on his computer, many of them of children in explicit sexual situations, said DPS Lt. Wesley Skowron...Skowron said Bruns has been trading and downloading pornography since at least late January, receiving as many as a few hundred inquiries a day from others eager to trade child pornography...If convicted of distributing child pornography, Bruns could face up to seven years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

How the Fox News Producer Got Busted for Child Porn
[02-10-09] FBI agents and police officers found computers, hard drives, and CDs. A Dell Inspiron laptop contained digital photos and movies "depicting children under the age of ten being sexually abused by adult men and women," according to Palchak's affidavit. Bruns had also taken naked pictures of himself.

***Warning: Graphic content ahead***
Fox Newser in Kiddie Porn Bust
[02-10-09] The following is a sample of some of the images and movie files found on the C drive of the Dell Inspiron Laptop:

1. This movie file is approximately seven minutes and five seconds long and depicts numerous female children most under the age of 10 performing oral sex on men. Several of the men in this video ejaculate into the mouths of these children. Some of the children in this video are being vaginally penetrated by adult men.

2. This movie is approximately 5 minutes and thirty seven seconds in length and depicts a female child under the age of 10 sucking the penises of adult men and being vaginally penetrated by adult male penises.

3. This image depicts a prepubescent child sitting in a bathtub nude with her legs spread open being urinated on by an adult male.

4. This image depicts a prepubescent child under the age of 5 with her arms behind her back and bound by duct tape being anally penetrated by an adult male.

5. This image depicts a female child under the age of 5 laying on her stomach with her pants down in a spread eagle position with her legs and wrists bound by duct tape.

Fox News Fires Producer Charged with Child Porn
[02-13-09] Fox hired Bruns in 2002, three years after he left the University of Michigan after similar charges of possessing and distributing child porn online.

I'd like to grind a heel into the eye that looked at those babies being raped. Motherfucker.

I want to get together with 1/2 dozen friends - all between 6-0 and 6-10, 270-350. I figure we tie his wrists together and hang him from the ceiling so his feet barely touch the floor. The rule is "No hitting above the shoulders!". We would take lead pipes and SHATTER every bone in this motherfucker's body, from his collarbone to his toes!

Why use a heel for a job better suited to a hammer drill with 3/4" bit?


"Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just." -Blaise Pascal

"If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” - Niccolo Machiavelli


Go Green

A Troubled Week in Iran

Iranian supporters of reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate

Supporters of Mousavi set burning barricades in the streets and chant slogans as they protest

Holding posters of the late Ayatollah Khomeini and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, worshippers chant slogans, during Friday prayers, at the Tehran University campus

Supporters of Mousavi

Mousavi surrounded by a sea of supporters and cameras, as he addresses the crowd

Iranian women take cover from a cloud of either tear gas or smoke at an anti-government protest in Tehran

Iranian riot police clash with demonstrators

A member of a pro-government Basij militia throws a rock from the group's building in the direction of demonstrators as they approach the militia's base, near a rally supporting Mousavi

Supporters of Mousavi take a break from demonstrating

A screen grab taken on June 21, 2009 from a video posted on YouTube reportedly shows Iranian men trying to help a wounded woman named "Neda" after she was shot in the chest during a protest in Tehran on June 20, 2009. She died only moments later. Neda Soltani has become an iconic figure among supporters of the opposition, her memorial on June 22nd was apparently disrupted by Iranian riot police.

She died for nothing. They talk about freedom and liberty but it's all still radical Islam with either side in the Iranian elections. So I guess it's the liberty to choose your Islamist oppressor. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. But I guess it's nice that they're going violent on each other rather than the US.

They are only using the election as an opportunity to mobilize for the fight to overthrow the entire regime. They will succeed eventually. You on the other hand, will be an ignoramus for ever.

And you know that how? Because you dreamed a dream? I suppose that those Ayatollahs supporting the protests are really closet liberals.

I know that because I watch the news. There was an interview with a woman explaining she is actually fighting for women's rights. There are messages coming from protesters saying their hopes are to achieve much bigger changes.

I also know it because I have a brain. If you lived under an oppressive regime, wouldn't you want to overthrow it? Why do you think you are better than Iranians?

Finally, I know it because I was in a similar situation myself, while protesting against the election fraud in Serbia under the oppressive regime of Slobodan Milosevic.

Yes, well I also watch the news and have listened to people say they fundamentally support the status quo with light reforms. If I am a religious Muslim perhaps I am not as extreme as the zealots but still respectful of the Mullahs and the regime. As far as I've read the development of nuclear weapons was hugely popular by both hard liners and reformers. As was hatred of America.

Genius, this is Iran not Yugoslavia. There is nothing in common between the two situations.

You have no idea of the strategy and the tactics involved in overthrowing an oppressive regime which has been in the business of brainwashing the masses for decades. I do, because I was involved in it.

Here is something to think about: if you come right out and say you want a total upheaval, you will immediately lose the support of a huge number of people who may simply be afraid of what immediate pain that may bring.

So, you don't want to come out on TV and say "fuck the Mullahs", you come out and say "hey, look, we are asking for reasonable things, and if they won't even give us that much... well draw your own conclusions".

Think of the "Allahu Akbar" chants. While for you it means they are just showing themselves as religious Muslims, I understood it as the same tactic we employed by chanting patriotic Serbian slogans: it's not because we were nationalists, it's to invoke the authority we knew everyone recognized as above the regime, thus planting the seeds of the idea that the regime is not all powerful, as the brainwashed masses might think it is.

It's good tactics. I dig it, even though I am an anti-religious progressive.

Please comment more. It's good to finally encounter a commenter who knows what the hell it is they're talking about.

Thanks. I think what they are trying to do right now is gather the critical mass. This is why the emphasis on mourning, and the emphasis on being quiet and reasonable. You want to show the regime as being the ones who are the mad dogs in this. It will take a lot of time, however. Years. This is a good start though, the seeds of the idea are planted in many people's minds, even if they don't go out in the next days and weeks to show it.

The main problem is how do you get beyond Tehran. In Serbia, the whole thing finally worked when they (I already left the country at that point) started the rallies in the small towns in the heartland, and then marched towards the capital. This has stretched the security forces into thin bands around the entire country, which were then overrun with almost no violence at all. By the time the mass reached Belgrade, there was a feeling of defeat among the security forces, at which point they decided to switch sides.

On the subject of "they just want free elections": they might as well ask for gay marriages, there is exactly zero chance of the regime giving in on anything. This is why you ask for the smallest change that seems like a really basic right: to show the regime as being absolutely unreasonable and therefore ripe for the fall.



I Miss Rock

Chris Cornell has the BEST voice ever

1. Like the Sun - I Mother Earth
2. All My Real Friends - High Holy Days
3. Deny - Default
4. I Am the Highway* - Audioslave

*Video of our move from Los Angeles, CA to Yakima, WA in March 2006. We left my whole family behind to start a new one. Thank you brothers and sisters for holding him so tenderly. I tried to show how precious that was too see in the video. Thank God that dad noticed that one of our wheels on the trailer was bad with a tire that was about to blow just before we left his house... Then someone on the road shattered the driver side window on my truck just 2 hours after we left. On top of that we went from rain and icy roads of Northern California to freezing cold rain and snow up north in Oregon and Washington... "Long and weary my road has been..." - 4 days later we finally arrived safely! Thanks bro for driving the other car with our baby boy! Ruby and I will never forget that! -E.


He was such a freak.
If I'm going to remember him, it will be like this:

I'll Be There
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Rock With You

Billie Jean (live)
Thriller (dance)
Moonwalk (extended)

Mourning fans

I grew up on Michael in the 70's and he was nothing short of an idol, but for me he died long ago. This makes one less pedophile hiding behind wealth and fame. I look at him as I do Roman Polanski. Appreciate the dance, but definitely not the dancer.

Yep. I don't think our opinions will be popular, but my first thought is, now those kids actually have a shot at growing up normal.

I feel the same way. I can't really stand to look at him, even if hearing his songs make my feet start to tap.

Mourning fan__UCLA Medical Center

Exactly. Although it's weird to think of a person who has been famous for as long as I had a concept of what celebrity was is now gone, I don't have the urge to shed a tear for him.

I agree. I'm not trying to be a ghoul, and I love his music and believe him to be a pop genius but I don't think you can overlook the last, oh two decades.

I'll admit, I'm stunned. But, I have to agree with you, in part. His legacy is so tainted. It was impossible to enjoy his art when I could not stand the artist.

Media and fans__UCLA Medical Center

Fourth'd. I feel that we'll hear in the next months all the dirty laundry. Much like Howard Hughes, whose dysfunction and mental illness was a closely guarded, protected secret, I bet all the people bound by confidentiality agreements and/or stipends will be coming forward with much Michael Jackson's apologists would prefer remain hidden.

Thanks for putting into words what I have spent the last hour trying to figure out how to say.

Neverland Ranch__Beverly Hills

It's a sad story all the way around. He needed help before he went totally street rat crazy, but nobody was there for him. They saw him as a golden goose, not a human being.

I guess I mourn for whatever was lost a long time ago, because you're right -- he's been essentially a shadow of his former self, and he was clearly a tortured soul who dealt with abuse on his own.

Orphaned kids of a rich, legendary father do not have any shot of a normal childhood.

MJ's crown, scepter and crystal glove__Apr.09 auction

This is very much how I feel. I was a huge Jackson 5 fan when I was a child (still am) but that Michael Jackson disappeared years ago. I admit I feel sad and actually a bit sick in my stomach but I feel sad for that little boy and for what he became.

You can't libel a dead man. It's gonna get real crazy.

Carved hanging swing__Apr.09 auction

No one would help him because it may have threatened their paycheck, so it just continued to spiral out of control.

Fifth'd, or wherever we are. I can appreciate the tragedy of his life, but if he really did molest children, I have no sympathy for him. It's sad that he probably had some serious demons, but not sad that he tried to work them out on young kids.
For the kids he's alleged to have harmed, I feel for them. A lot of people are talking about how great he was now. And he had years of greatness, but then it all slid downhill.

Black or White vid__1991

I'm mostly sad about my lost childhood, I think, and this stands in for other things about my childhood that I'm sad about losing.
For example...my sister and my brother and I all dancing to "Beat It" in our living room. That was a happy time, and preceded many unhappy times, so I'm sad because I feel like a little bit of that is lost.


A person does not wake up one day and become a pedophile. There is always something under the surface. It just took the public a while to figure everything out.

The talent, the art, the music and dancing, what he brought to our lives is amazing. His own life was in some respects a sacrifice to that. I've no doubt he's done some wrong but I think his own face is testament to the fact that he was a deeply screwed up person. Doesn't take away from the sheer joy and greatness of his music.

You articulated most of the thoughts that have been tormenting me for an hour. I am sad at the loss of his musical genius. But I am appalled by the overwhelming evidence that he engaged in inappropriate relationships with children and even more by the crowd of hangers-on who rushed to protect him from the consequences of his behavior.
I trust that our Creator will judge him with the mercy we would all want. And forgive me for my own lack of grace and kindness.

I go back and forth:
Let's assume your parents and family physically and mentally abuse you to an extreme, before, during, and after you are applying a tremendous talent and spreading profound enjoyment to hundreds of millions of people. How might a retaliation to that abuse manifest itself in an adult with no cultural or financial limitations? I feel for him, and those he hurt.

His personal demons and misdeeds don't subtract from his genius, they exist alongside each other.

MJ dangles his baby over Berlin hotel balcony

This rings of the sentiment of my mother when I told her that MJ died.
She's sad, but at the same time, she can't bring herself to look at and appreciate what he turned himself into.
When mid-80's MJ came up on screen, she said 'That's the Michael Jackson I know' and walked out the room.
Sad...but I think I'm over it. The music will live forever.

In this culture, it's amazing what one will forgive for the sake of entertainment.

He was mercilessly abused, assaulted and driven by his "guardians" from the time he was a little kid. There are complex reasons behind why he was so fucked up. Doesn't excuse his actions, but his whole life was very tragic, and worthy of just a bit of compassion.

The generational gap is always more apparent when it comes to pop culture, I've found.
I'm almost 25, and I spent my childhood rocking the fuck out to MJ in the 80s and early 90s. Although the last couple decades have shown a completely different person, I still can't help but remember him as the world's biggest superstar.
Right after I heard the news, I went to the final for this prep class I am taking at a junior college, and I asked this 19 year old guy if he had heard about it. He just kinda said "Yeah, kinda sad" and shrugged it off, and I realized that most younger people probably only know him as a freak show, nothing more.


Smooth Criminal

Bif Naked

Bif Naked (nee Beth Torbert) was born in New Delhi, India and adopted by American missionaries. Part of her childhood was spent in Lexington, Kentucky, where her father was a professor at the University of Kentucky. After living in The Pas, Manitoba, her family eventually settled in Winnipeg, MB. [...]


Luxury Supercars


Thank You

Even when working between the thin line of life and death, I never got any thank you note but lending a mobile phone charger for an hour got me this.

Bristol, England

He is the youngest among the three siblings. Every year my husband gives them 50 dollars each since they were born (it never increases despite the crisis lol) and their mother gives us cookies and every year the three send us thank you notes. But this year this has caught my attention! I kept laughing everytime I read this.

I am a packrat; I save everything. Or at least I did for the 22+ plus years in my library career... heck who am I trying to kid...?? I have done it my whole life... lol
Now it is time to clean things out and get rid of the clutter... I decided I deserve to keep this little note in my retirement... :) [flickr.com]


I received this email today:

Hello Tia,
Thanks for the feature! It’s a pleasure to read your blog.
Especially to read about the other designers you have featured.
Very inspiring.
All the best from Amsterdam!

It was in response to this link I sent to Diddo Velema and it got me to thinking about other people I've featured in my blogs who haven't even sent me a simple "Thank you" after I emailed them.

At least two thirds of them don't know the meaning of the word "appreciation". It's sad to think they're so caught up in their own little world that they just don't get how important it is acknowledge other people's efforts. Yes, even people they don't know or haven't heard of. These are the same guys who say shit like "I'd like to thank my fans...without you none of this would be possible..." when they receive an award and then backstage it's all MeMeMe.

People who act like this pull out all the stops for the Big Cahunas in their line of business but can't be bothered dealing with anyone else. They don't see how we humans are interconnected and that society is more like a chainlink fence than a totem pole or pyramid.

People like this obviously don't believe in karma, and as everyone knows, karma can be a real bitch when she wants to be.

I'm not a professional photographer, but I've been involved or lived around creative fields (film, comics, theater) all my life, and I think I have a decent eye from it. Currently I work at DC Comics as an editor in their Collected Editions department.

I am slowly starting to build my library of photos here -- most of which will have some human element to them, as that's what interests me the most. There are SO many amazing photographers on Flickr taking breathtakingly gorgeous landscapes, detailed flower pics and other beautiful scenery -- and all way better than I ever could. But I'm not really interested in "perfect" photos. I'm much more interested in a photo's subject matter. Does it invoke an emotion? Does it make you laugh, cry, or make you think? It has to be more than JUST pretty for me -- so for my OWN photos, I'll mainly be focusing on capturing real people. Hopefully I can get them in "a moment," and not just their daily routine. I especially enjoy taking pictures that can tell some kind of story.

I mainly take pics with my first-generation iPhone, because it's easy and convenient. But I also love the charming and sometimes dreamy quality the iPhone gives, that most regular cameras can't seem to capture easily. You can't really adjust the picture taking in ANY way on the iPhone, so you sort of just get what you get - and I kind of like that. Takes away a lot of the pressure - it either turns out well, or it doesn't, ya know?

I also had a Panasonic DMC-FS5 which I occasionally used, but it was giving me problems - so now I have a Samsung PL50 (SL202). It's just a cheapo "point and shoot," but I wanted something that would fit in my pocket.
I love living in the best city on Earth: NYC. So the majority of my pics will reflect my life here. About 20% of my pics are self-portraits, though, because I stupidly challenged myself to make every fifth pic on here one of me. We'll see how long that lasts...
Hope you enjoy!
- Anton

Subway Stories
All of the pics here, unless I specifically say they are someone I know, are sneak pics taken with the people NOT knowing (or if they knew, I certainly didn't ask if it was ok!). Yes, even the portrait-like close-up shots were taken with the subject completely unaware. It helps when you have something like an iPhone, where you can be sneaky...
Anyone who lives in NYC knows that there're millions of stories going on every day in the city's subways.
Here're a few of them that I've seen and captured for eternity...

A Weight On His Shoulders
We were on the way to Astoria, Queens, about to enjoy a fun and beautiful day of photography and Greek food. But this guy across from us seemed to have so much on his mind, I couldn't help but notice him so deep in thought.

"Don't Go OUT There!"
After a long commute from the deepest part of Brooklyn, his subway stop in the city has finally arrived.
But something within him says he maybe shouldn't go out there...

Even Grown-Ups Can Have Fun!
A man lugging his musical instrument sat down on the subway, only to notice a string hanging in front of him. When he looked up to see what was attached to it, he discovered that someone else had left their balloon behind.
All of a sudden, it was like the inner boy inside came out - he was so delighted to find a new toy!

Powers/Skills: Anton has the uncanny ability to immediately tell if a new comic will succeed or fail (unfortunately he still doesn't have the power to STOP bad comics from getting made). He also has the amazing power to burst anyone's bubble.

Featured Set
The Swimwear Issue
Stylish Men


Play Whuff

Tara Hunt, author

Embrace the chaos! The Whuffie Factor weaves stories from Moleskine, 37Signals, Threadless, Willitblend, and Gary Vaynerchuk into a compelling story of the way business is now done. Tara doesn’t just talk about it, of course, she does it herself.

Social capital may be the most powerful currency of the twenty-first century, and this book is a guide to its care and feeding. Bursting with energy and enthusiasm, Tara Hunt shows us how to win friends and influence people in a Web 2.0 world.

You might not be familiar with the term Whuffie before reading this book. I know I wasn't. It supposedly stands for "the store of social capital that is the currency in the digital world." Marketing today in the New Media is about building relationships. It's about give and take. It's not about "in your face" or just throwing money into advertising campaigns. By reading this book you should better understand what online marketing has migrated to be about and why it is important to go with the flow.

Whuffie is slang for social capital: your reputation, your credibility, your personal bankability. It's not as simple as the number of followers you have on Twitter, because that doesn't necessarily indicate your trustworthiness - there's plenty of spammers who've mastered the art of the followback. It's not as simple as the number of posts you've made on a forum somewhere, because that just indicates you're really good at clicking the Submit button.
Tara writes about marketing in new ways that I'd never considered. Marketing wasn't just a bunch of sexist guys designing magazine ads of barely-clothed women holding their product in provocative positions. Marketing meant understanding that places like forums, web sites and Twitter are, as The Whuffie Factor explains:
"...a simple but powerful online community where thousands of buying decisions are made every single day."
This message isn't just for companies: it's for employees. "Who cares," you ask, "if I'm not selling a product?" Even if you're not working a street corner, you're selling yourself. Future employers, future clients, and future coworkers are taking stock of your every action.
The Whuffie Factor demystifies the workings of social capital and marketing, and these explanations work great for IT geeks. Let's face it: we suck at networking, and we suck at marketing. We need all the help we can get. This book is the help, and we don't need a marketing background to understand how it applies to us.
The chapter "Become a Part of the Community You Serve" and the book's repeated message about turning the bullhorn around especially resonate with me, and it illustrates the problems with so many IT communities. Tara discusses how she worked with a web site to throw away their imaginary user profiles and connect directly with several real users instead using their own product. They became more and more intertwined with their own customers, and as a result, built better products. I've learned these lessons personally, and I found myself nodding over and over - and not because I was going to sleep.
Throughout the book, Tara gives simple, straightforward explanations of how to get whuffie, what happens if you do it right, and what happens if you do it wrong.

I'm using The Whuffie Factor right now to help a client understand the broader principles at stake beyond their current weak benchmarks in terms of external links, and other mentions of company resources online.
As a practitioner of search marketing (what is often misunderstood to be a narrowly technical field), increasingly I see the companies who increase their whuffie across the board to be very resilient in terms of the bottom-line-enhancing digital referrals they consistently get from search engines and similar sources.
It's all interconnected.
The value of this book isn't in proving that the author herself used social media tactics to promote her own business (those examples are self-reinforcing, in a way). It's that old-school companies who now hope that you can gaze at the keyword density of a few key pages on a website, and increase "rank" and "traffic," need the practical insights here that add up to a much broader audience building strategy: increase your Whuffie.
The Whuffie concept is well chosen and will help reinforce your sense of just how universally important it is to build your social currency, in any walk of life.

By traditional marketing standards, this book is everything I detest. It has an annoyingly cute and trendy title. It is about a subject I think I already know a lot about.
Too make things worse, the first paragraph inside the fly cover starts off "The book that catches the crest of Web 2.0 and shows how any business can harness its power ..." If I were browsing books at a bookstore, that would probably be enough for me to put the book right back on the shelf, assuming I would have taken it off the shelf in the first place.
However, Tara Hunt sent a message out on Twitter asking for people to review the book, and because Tara has incredible whuffie and knows how to use it, I agreed to review the book and I'm glad I did.

Before starting a coworking space, I interviewed Tara Hunt, and was suitably informed. I told her I wanted to keep up with what she's doing, and she said "Oh, just follow me on Twitter."
I'm not exactly an internoob, but from what I'd heard, Twitter was a gossip engine for adolescent shut-ins. But I joined, and followed, and initially thought my initial suspicion was justified. There was a lot of "OMG, I can't believe the way my hair looks today" and "saw the cutest shoes at Macy's" and "having lunch with @bff", etc. And then, "registering for this conference (link)".
Turned out to be a conference in my industry. One I'd never heard of. And in two days. I registered, went to the event, discovered there was a huge segment of people I'd never reached before. Because I'm not using the channels they pay attention to.
Since then, I've been learning all I can about the statusphere and its importance to growing a business in the 21st century. Tara Hunt's new book is an essential primer for anyone whose business is dependent on the good will of their customers, suppliers, partners, and team members. Which is to say: all of them.
I don't care if you're a one-man-brand or a 20 billion dollar corporation, if you don't master these fundamental community-sustaining competencies, you will fail.

Interview with Tara Hunt
Tara Hunt is a name that means a lot to Social Media experts but not only. Enterprise marketers are also - or should be - familiar with her earlier attempts at promoting a new form of marketing philosophy entitled Pinko Marketing, the aim of which was to prolong the work that had been initiated by the cluetrain manifesto team at the end of the 1990's. Beside her involvement in Barcamp and the coworking project, the San Francisco-based Canadian online marketer has got back to writing a new book The Whuffie Factor which is now available in the UK. I have asked Tara to present her new opus to our Orange readers in this exclusive interview:

Tara, I saw in Twitter and on your blog that you were preparing a new book entitled "the Whuffie factor". Why did you choose that name and what is the message behind it?
The name evolved for me and was suggested by the publisher. The working title of the book was 'How to Be a Social Capitalist: building your business with online communities' but the publisher thought that social capital was too vague and meant too many things. When he saw that I told the story of Cory Doctorow's Whuffie*, John Mahaney (editor) shopped the word around and found that people really responded to it. First they would laugh, then after the term was explained, they would remember it. The Whuffie Factor means, in basic terms, that people should pay attention to their actions in online communities.
(*Whuffie is a term taken from SF writer Cory DOctorow's book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.)

And what has it got to do with Social Media and marketing?
Well, the key point to understand about social media is that it is meant to be social. Facebook and Twitter and Flickr weren't built as platforms for sales pitches, they were built as platforms for human interaction: conversations, relationship building, trust, support, etc. The Whuffie Factor is about how well you do on that level. The 'marketing' part will just happen naturally in these communities because people are talking about their everyday lives, looking for guidance on their purchases and choices and looking to get that guidance from their trusted circle of friends. If you've built good relationships, you will do well. The book is about how you get to that point.

Before we delve into Social Media, can you please tell us why enterprises have to do marketing differently?
I don't think this is news at all, but people have been talking about this little thing called the Internet for a little while now. And what the Internet opened up was the ability for individuals to increase the size of their networks and expand their conversations. In doing that, the one-way communication of mass media started to lose it's power. There have been a few good studies lately that show that Word of Mouth recommendations between friends and 'people like me' are only getting stronger. Therefore, the marketing that uses pure bullhorn type techniques (ads, SEO, etc.) are missing out on a huge opportunity.

So Social media can help us get to grips with this new way of marketing products and services. Can you explain?
It's about taking the marketing out of it all together for the time being. I don't even like calling the fantastic interactions I have online 'social media'. Prior to online communities, I didn't call my relationships 'social face to faces'. The way you can come to grips is by taking off your marketers hat and putting on your customer hat. When you hang out with your friends, what do you talk about? I'm guessing you are open and honest with them. You share stuff with them. You ask them about their lives. You figure out what their needs are so you can help out as a friend. And...when the time is right...you can help one another out. There are just more sophisticated tools available so you can do this with more people. That's it.

As a consequence, Social Media isn't just a toy for geeks, it's serious stuff for serious business people. Does it mean that the role of managing communities is the job of the future?
I'm torn on that one. On the one hand, having the role puts priority on it. It says, "community is important to us, so we're paying an employee to make sure it is taken care of." On the other hand, by delegating that role to one person, a company loses many opportunities to build multiple relationships between customers and the company.

So should we start considering pricing our products in Whuffie rather than dollars or pounds?
Ha. in my opinion, no. I'd like to stay away from measuring it in the near future. Cory Doctorow, who came up with the term, warned us of the inherent problems of measuring whuffie in his book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. The biggest issue is that, once measured, it is totally gameable.

If you had only one piece of advice for our readers to get the Whuffie factor right, what would it be?
Imagine yourself at a party. How do you act if you want to meet people and make friends? Do you enter the party and just talk about yourself and leave once you get what you want? Or do you slowly enter the conversations, listening to people, joining in when you have something to contribute, asking people about themselves, exchanging jokes and being light-hearted? Probably the latter. That's also how you need to approach online communities if you want to raise your Whuffie.

Olafur Eliasson
Diddo Velema



He SLEEPS with her...

...but he ESCAPES with me.


You Are a Moron

Ballard Camera's going out of business sale is "officially" the "We Quit" sale. It's on tags around the store. Note that this shop is about three or four blocks away from the former location of "Mandrake's Antiques, Custom Furniture and Great Things" which announced their closing with signs reading "Uncle." [flickr.com - Jne.09]

Store Closings

[flickr.com - Jan.09]

Forbes isn't doing Elisabeth Eaves any favours

The Recession is Great
by Elisabeth Eaves
[Forbes - Jne.09]

Low prices. Nice people. What's not to like?

This week I refinanced my mortgage at a new, better rate, lowering my monthly expenses with a stroke of the pen. Even as I was doing the paperwork, I had to dodge calls trying to offer me similar and even better rates. If you're creditworthy these days, banks can't shovel money at you fast enough.

This got me thinking about all the other ways in which this recession might be a good thing. Job losses and property devaluations have inflicted much pain, but relentless focus on catastrophe leaves out the flip side of market logic: Prices will tumble until goods find buyers, making it a very good time to go shopping. The recession's benefits also go beyond the purely tangible. Last week I met an artist, Kendrick Mar, who compared the downturn to a "purifying fire." We were talking about the end of high prices for bad work. But there's something else going on too: a burning away of dross in our personal and working lives.

To start with the most literal example, there's a global sale on, so if your own income hasn't plummeted, the getting is good. Interest rates are down. Property prices too. Residential and commercial rents, even in New York City, are down--not, perhaps, south of 14th Street in Manhattan, but elsewhere in the city, mere mortals are negotiating better deals with their landlords, or moving to neighborhoods they had thought were out of reach.

Financial blogger and investment adviser Barry Ritholtz singles out a few more goods that are going cheap: boats, jewelry, Picassos and Monets, second homes. "Make a list of the favorite things that you want, and put in a low-ball offer, and tell people the offer is good for six months," he says. "Your spending habits should be countercyclical; You don't buy, buy, buy when the economy is great."

The downturn has procured a related outbreak of pleasant behavior: Tradesmen, salespeople and restaurant reservationists have lost their standoffish attitude. "Walk into a car dealer now, and that whole veneer of obnoxiousness is gone," Ritholtz says.

GM is going out of business, their bulky, expensive-to-run vehicles to be lost, perhaps, in the purifying fire. But new ventures are starting too. Michael Benstock, CEO of Superior Uniform Group, explains what his company has been up to. Faced with shrinking demand--higher unemployment means less need for uniforms--Superior Uniform laid off staff and posted a loss in the first quarter of 2009.

On the other hand, it's cutting deals with vendors and looking for other companies to buy. "We feel the timing is great for acquisitions," he says. "There are a lot of weakened competitors out there." And after nine decades in the garment trade, the company last year branched out. It needed to outsource more customer service functions to save money and figured other companies did too. So it turned an in-house call center in El Salvador into a separate business, The Office Gurus, that now serves not only Superior Uniform but also other U.S. firms. "Our timing was impeccable," Benstock says, though that was as much because of luck as design. The 150 Salvadorans employed by The Office Gurus have profited.

Then there are the opportunities for change in individual careers. If you still work for a newly downsized company, in all likelihood there is not quite enough labor to go around. That can be exhausting, but it's also a chance to seize new responsibilities. Raises may not come back into fashion for a while, but you can be first in line when they do.

A layoff can be gut-wrenching. But it's also a chance to ask yourself: Were you really happy about the job before it ended? If not, what can you now change that you couldn't before? The Web magazine RecessionWire (subtitle: "The Upside of the Downturn"), whose founders were themselves laid off from other companies, has nursed this idea of reinvention over the last half year, with stories on poverty-provoked spiritual awakenings and musings on next steps. As adults we rarely get to ask ourselves, "What do I want to do when I grow up?" The unemployed may fantasize about financial stability, but the fully employed fantasize about having just a darn minute to think. All the focus on "Plan B" is infectious, causing even the employed to ask themselves, if only as a parlor game, what would I do?

The juiciest personal recessionary benefit, though, may be getting out of things we didn't want to do in the first place by pleading financial hardship. A friend's back-of-beyond wedding? Too expensive. A conference in another city? Company cutbacks say no: Watch the Webcast instead and be home in time for dinner. With so many people out of work, the pressure to keep up financial appearances has disappeared. It's easier than ever to gracefully decline going out for a mediocre $60 meal. We should have better aligned our budgets with our desires all along, but now feel more bold about doing so.

In my neighborhood, the number of empty storefronts has crept upward over the last six months. I wonder if I should be alarmed. It's eerie, but also suggests a neighborhood on pause, taking a breath before chugging along in some new direction. Vanity Fair's James Wolcott, writing recently on the glories of 1970s New York, noted that the population shrank by 10% over the decade. He observed:

"It was hell on the tax base but, for those who migrated to New York and secured a foxhole while the city bled out, terminal conditions weren't all bad. There were upsides to a downward spiral. Having fewer people clogging the scenery aired out the city nicely, opening corner pockets of private and public space where all sorts of termite creativity could take place, and did."

We may be in for more crime and grime, but also more breathing room as some of the hype and waste goes up in flame. Economists are predicting a recovery, anywhere from an optimistic "it's already started" to a cautious 2011. Enjoy the recession while it lasts.

Elisabeth Eaves is a deputy editor at Forbes, where she writes a weekly column.

"We may be in for more crime and grime, but also more breathing room as some of the hype and waste goes up in flame."
What a ludicrous piece of crap.
Here's hoping the writer never has to face down a mugger or carjacker.
Keep the doors locked, hon!

One thing Elisabeth failed to mention (by design I assume) is that such a deep recession caused by industrial greedheads and their compliant government is also a chance for workers and unemployed people to unite in a cause. There is time and motivation to topple the structure that favors the wealthy and change it to favor the middle and working classes. Check out United Professionals.

I'm glad the recession is working out so well for someone. My spouse lost his GM job in hospitality four months ago. He's spent his entire career managing hotels/resorts and now can't even get an interview for a position at a limited-service property (ie, Hampton Inn). When we relocated for the job he lost, I left my job and didn't return to work because we had a baby and he was working 90-100 hour weeks. Now I'm looking for a job and can't get an interview because I've been a full-time parent for two years! We're both well-educated, hard workers who have lived well within our means (our child's crib and other furniture are hand-me-downs from friends/family; our house is extremely modest but we do have a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage to pay). We have some savings, but we can't keep going for long with both of us out of work. My spouse has worked hard for over 20 years to build his career, which he loves. Your comment about layoffs is insulting and cruel. Enjoy your good fortune of full employment and a great credit rating for now, because it can end in an instant. Oh, and do our friends who are still employed in hospitality (most of whom have taken pay cuts) a favor--travel and leave big tips.

You are horribly insensitive! People are getting laid off left and right and you go on to cheer about shopping and jewelry. People are struggling to put food on the table and you think this recession is great?? What is the matter with you? What about all of the murder-suicides we are hearing about in the news? People are SUFFERING and you think this recession is great? What is with your "Let them eat cake" attitude? Again, you are horribly horribly insensitive.

Here's why Elisabeth's job isn't safe: The Sun Sets on BusinessWeek, Forbes and Fortune

Bankers and currency speculators have been crooks ever since Jesus threw the money-changers out of the Temple, and probably long before. We should have done much the same, and in fact that's what we ought to be doing now.
What part did Forbes Magazine play in lulling the public into inaction, and thereby paving the way to the current debacle - either by what they printed, or by what they refrained from printing?

Ms. Eaves,
You are a moron. The recession is great? I graduated from college a year and a half ago and have already been laid off from three jobs.
I guess the bright side is how amazing it was that I was able to find and get hired by three different jobs.
Many of my friends who worked very hard during their college years received job offers before they graduated. Most of them were actually laid off before starting one day of work.
I had to move in with my parents so that I could remove rent and utilities from my already growing debt. At 24 I am starting my life $27,000 in debt between student loans and credit cards.
Please stop writing about things that you clearly know nothing about.

This is really a phenomenal article. Sometimes you might forget just how staggeringly out of touch the top 2% of wealthy Americans are with the other 98%.
This is not optimism. This is not a good thing.
Remember - for every good deal you are getting, someone is losing money. People are losing their life savings, their homes, their jobs.
This is nothing short of vulturism. Picking at the carcass of the economy looking for the good tidbits before all the other vultures land and join in.
Elisabeth - you must feel really good about yourself right now. You've got a good job and good credit and the opportunity to profit from the misfortune of others.
Personally, I don't feel so hot. As my assets evaporated, my good credit soon followed. The value of my primary asset - my house, which my family and I enjoy living in - has plummeted. Now my debt to equity ratio is so off that my credit rating is falling fast. Despite having a good six-figure job, I'm talking to a lawyer about bankruptcy.
I just hope when I'm done, I can scrape up enough cash for one of those bargain Monets you're talking about here.
PS - Know anyone that wants a bargain on a few hundred bottles of well cellared California wines? I've got to sell the wine to pay the lawyers so I can keep the house with the empty wine cellar. I have to sell them at a loss, of course, so that bargain hunters like you can enjoy the benefits of the recession.

If you and/or your family members have health or disability issues, you and they are going to suffer big time no matter how thrifty you are.
If you're female and over 55, nobody cares how qualified you are, nor how hard you work, nor how pleasant and helpful you are to everyone. Nobody. They give the good techie jobs to a male under 35. And they give the clerical jobs to somebody who isn't "overqualified." Does Eaves never expect to live past 55?
My finances are already pared to the bone and have been so for a very long time. The recession hit the IT profession before it hit everybody else, and it hasn't been pleasant.
And no, I am not saddled with debt. Due to previous government tax and regulatory policies, the entire industry I was working in came to be outsourced overseas. At my last job, after I was laid off, I applied to work in India at a fraction of my previous salary. If I had been hired at that time, I would have gone, without complaint. But I never got a call back.
About half of my savings was lost in the crash. Evidently, it doesn't help all that much to be frugal unless you are also lucky, or have a lot of inside information. I didn't.
I'm trying very hard to make a career change at my age and it isn't easy, and at the same time, I'm too "overqualified" (i.e., old) to be given a blue-collar or pink-collar job with insurance benefits. Just today I saw a job that I badly wanted given to a much younger male. Despite all my efforts, somehow I wasn't even given an opportunity to apply for that particular job, and I'm feeling absolutely sick about that. And yes, it is a job that I am very much qualified for.
When just about everybody gets into their new, frugal lifestyle, what's the first piece of useless, time-wasting, money-wasting clutter that most people cut from their budgets?
You guessed it - magazine subscriptions!
Here comes the "purifying fire"!

I think it's the retirees I sympathize with the most. Their homes are worth less, their IRAs and 401ks funds are worth less, most are too old to go back to work even if anybody would hire them, and you can't make a dime on savings accounts at today's extremely low interest rates. I must be getting paranoid because what I initially viewed as a disaster brought on by a government asleep at the switch and greed-driven financial "wizards", I'm now beginning to see as possibly a planned occurrence.

What a bunch of nonsense. I was laid off from the engineering firm I was working for and I started my own firm with one of the other guys that got laid off the same day I did. It's been difficult and we are barely making it so I guess I can say that I'm not unemployed.
I sold my truck to get out of the $570/mo payment and had to pay $2,000 just to sell it because I could not get what it was worth. I am selling my other vehicle as well so I can be payment free. This must be the glorious fire sale she is referring to. My how wonderful it is to get stuff at such cheap prices from people who just can't afford them anymore! Why just look, America has become a gigantic pawn shop of goodies. How good this is for me, I can even buy a $300,000 home for next to nothing. Isn't this glorious?
Unemployment used to be for those that failed to apply themselves or had drug and alcohol issues. These days the best of the best can find themselves out in the cold. I made it through eight rounds of layoffs before I got the boot so I must have been good at what I do. Ironicaly those who got 86'd before me got 3 months severance but by the time they got to the rest of us, they were out of severance funds. That's special.
This economy is hurting "GOOD PEOPLE" and there is nothing good about that.

You must be kidding me. Perhaps this is a humor piece, and I am not getting it. I do not see how in the long run that this recession is good for anyone -- except maybe a financial vulture.
Most people are struggling to stay afloat, survive, and remain sane; and while times like this allow us to pause and reflect upon the things which matter most to us, it's not what I would say, oh, a likable situation.
Sometimes it is as dire as it looks, and rather than being, what I will graciously say, "eternally optimistic," perhaps it's best to call what we are facing what it really is -- a fine mess 20-plus years in the making, of which we have yet to see the end.

Ms. Eaves,
You're right, I've noticed that it's so much easier to get a good table at a four-star restaurant these days. And if you can't pay for the meal because you've lost your job and your home went into foreclosure you can always try and sneak out through the bathroom window.
P.S. Mortgage rates have gone through the roof in the month or so since you refinanced. I guess those who were less timely are SOL.

This is a vapid, stupid little girl. Like so many others in both the print and broadcast media, she is an icon of the decline and impending death of the so called main stream media.
Steve, can't you afford some adults?

Oh yes, this recession is so wonderful, if you live in a gated community and never leave it (just order the Picasso paintings online). Nice people? I see hateful people along my commute every day, cursing at me and each other in traffic more than ever, and it's obvious at least to me that it is only a matter of time before major spikes in the crime rate begin. But I can buy some million dollar paintings at a discount. Wonderful. My employment situation is unaffected so far and technically the lower prices have improved my standard of living for now, but I believe this country is in a very precarious situation and my fear of civil unrest is a little more significant than my elation over discounted art and jewelry (two things that are ALWAYS a ripoff anyway). JMHO!

An amazingly vapid piece. Anyone who cites NYC in the 70's as some "glory time" has no grasp of the city's reality of the era. I was there and entire areas of the city were effectively out of control (and served as inspiration for the "Death Wish" genre of movies). Have fun at the unemployment office Ms. Eaves and enjoy that "purifying fire" - you may learn that its burns hurt like hell.

Yes, it's "juicy" to be able to "get out of things" we didn't want to do because we're unemployed, underwater and in ruinous debt.
Sorry kids, I didn't want to pay your tuition anyway. Now I can't.
Sorry hon, I didn't want to pay the mortgage this month anyway.
Sorry taxman, I didn't want to pay your inflated bill...
You get the picture, right? I'm so glad the great transfer of wealth from 40 and 50 somethings to 20 and 30 somethings is a cause of some rejoicing on their part. Keep up the good work!


Detroit Ruins (and Other Cities)

Art Deco Ballroom
Most of these were shot on the top floor of an historic building on Main Street. On this floor is what was once a ballroom and restaurant. The ballroom hasn't been used in over seventy years.

Asylum for Lunatic Chairs
This former asylum is now flanked by a State Correctional Facility. The building is beautiful, a tangible reminder of how society cared for it's less fortunate members. After admission to this facility, the majority of the patients were to spend the remainder of their lives here.
Presently, the asylum mainly houses lunatic chairs.

The Light of Decay is a continuous project which simply aspires to document destitute structures and by extension, illuminate the past experiences contained therein.
If it is true that a measure of society can be found in how it cares for the elderly , then I believe it is analogous to say that society can also be judged by how it treats the structures those same citizens built.

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York
a.k.a. The Book of Lamentations:
A bitterly nostalgic look at a city in the process of going extinct


The Deficit